Driving in Italy & San Marino – Venice to Rome Road Trip

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Updated May 6, 2017 / João Leitão / 7 Comments / Filed in: / Reading time 10 minutes

Driving in Italy &  San Marino - Venice to Rome Road Trip

Driving in Italy & San Marino – Venice to Rome Road Trip

Venice to Rome Road Trip

Italy is possibly every traveler’s dream.

If you’re looking for history, renowned cuisine, friendly people or lively music, Italy is one of the most exciting and romantic European destinations.

On one of my trips to Italy, I flew into Venice and then out from Rome.

I got a rental car in Venice and indulged myself on a fabulous 1255 km / 780 mi road trip in Italy, all the way to Rome via San Marino – one of the smallest independent states in the world.

Driving in Italy is very easy because roads are excellent and there are always road signs with directions everywhere.

Road distance from Venice to Rome


Venice to Rome Road Trip

Map of Italy road trip

Map of Italy road trip

Italy road trip itinerary: Venice, Ferrara, Ravenna, San Marino, Urbino, Foligno, Assisi, Amalfi, Positano, Pompei, Rome and Vatican.

Visiting Italy without targeting its vast historical heritage is almost impossible. This part of Europe is the cradle of the Etruscan civilization, the Great Greece, the Roman Empire, the Holy See, the Maritime Republics, the Humanism and the Renaissance.

How long does it take to make this road trip in Italy?

It all depends on you. This itinerary can totally be adapted to your preferences and travel speed. I made it in 10 days – which is enough as distances between cities are not that big, also because I drove from Assisi directly to Amalfi. If you decide to make this trip in 2 weeks, you can visit other places along the way. This was just my personal choice.

Driving in Italy & San Marino – Venice to Rome Road Trip

Driving in Italy & San Marino

Driving in Italy & San Marino

As usual, I didn’t organize any itinerary before my trip in Italy. I knew I wanted to visit San Marino, the Costiera Amalfitana (Amalfi Coast) and Pompeii. So, on my new map, I marked five points: 1-Venice (departure), 2-San Marino, 3-Amalfi, 4-Pompeii and 5-Rome (arrival). The rest of the places just naturally came along.


Gondola stop in the Grand Canal

Gondola stop in the Grand Canal of Venice

Venice was founded around the year 528, and it was the capital of the Republic of Venice for eleven centuries, from 697 until 1797. Because it is located on a lagoon, between the estuaries of the Po and the Piave Rivers, Venice is famous for this particular feature, as well as for its architecture and cultural legacy. Venice and its Lagoon are listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.

Read the page: Visit Venice – Beautiful photos of Venice iconic Italian city. Grand Canal, Rialto Bridge, Gondola rides, famous St. Mark’s Square, Churches, Wine and food.


Road distance from Venice to Ferrara

The Castle Estense in Ferrara

The Castle Estense in Ferrara

Ferrara city dates back to the 14th century when the Este family ruled it. I visited the Castle Estense, the Cathedral and other beautiful places around the city. Not to be missed is a walk through the old streets. Ferrara, City of the Renaissance, and its Po Delta are inscribed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO.


Road distance from Ferrara to Ravenna

Piazza Del Popolo in Ravenna

Piazza Del Popolo in Ravenna

Ravenna is a historical city with beautiful monuments. The city is famous for its Byzantine monuments which have a unique set of Middle Age mosaics. The Piazza Del Popolo in the city center is very nice. The Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna are inscribed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO.

4-San Marino

Road distance from Ravenna to San Marino

Fortress of Guaita in San Marino

Fortress of Guaita in San Marino

San Marino is one of the smallest countries in the world (the 5th); the oldest surviving sovereign state in the world; the oldest republic in the world (since around the year 300); one of the world’s highest GDPs; with the lowest unemployment rate of all the European countries. So, is San Marino an entirely different place? No! In fact, it looks and sounds like Italy, the same Italy that surrounds it. Unlike the kingdoms of Genoa and Venice, San Marino’s autonomy survived Italian conquest for centuries. The City of San Marino – the capital – is a medieval settlement built on the hills of Monte Titano, making the views probably the absolute best in San Marino. San Marino Historical Center and Monte Titano are inscribed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO.


Road distance from Marino to Urbino

The Ducal Palace of Urbino

The Ducal Palace of Urbino

Urbino was a big surprise for me during my road trip to Italy. I loved it. The typical brick houses and the incredible Ducal Palace made the visit to Urbino worth it. The city emerged as a major military and scientific center in Renaissance Italy. The Galleria Nazionale delle Marche Museum exhibits the work of famous painters such as Piero della Francesca, Raphael, Titian, Pedro Berruguete and Paolo Uccello. One of my favorite places was the Oratory of San Giovanni Battista with 15th-century frescoes by Lorenzo Salimbeni. The Historic Center of Urbino is inscribed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO.


Road distance from Urbino to Foligno

Piazza della Repubblica in Folligno

Piazza della Repubblica in Foligno

On the road to Assisi, Foligno city got my attention. I decided to drive in and explore the historic city center for a couple of hours. Due to some festivity, all the streets were nicely decorated with flowers and medieval flags. Although Foligno has been destroyed by several earthquakes in its history, the city is very well preserved and its buildings seem pretty much intact to me.

7-Monte Subasio

Road distance from Foligno to Monte Subasio

Sunset from the top of Monte Subasio

Sunset from the top of Monte Subasio

Mount Subasio is one of the 1290 m / 4232 ft peaks of the Apennines Mountain Range. The most famous city on the slopes of this mountain is Assisi. It took me too long from Urbino to Assisi so I decided to go up the mountain to see the sunset. Very beautiful place with fantastic views over Assisi and many horses and birds.


Road distance from Foligno to Monte Subasio

View of Assisi in Italy

View of Assisi in Italy

Assisi is famous for its medieval monuments and for being the birth and death place of Francis of Assisi, one of the greatest saints of the Roman Catholic Church. The Piazza del Comune, the Temple of Minerva, the Basilica of Santa Chiara and the Basilica of San Francesco are the most important places to visit in the city. I explored widely the whole historical center, different churches and especially the Basilica of San Francesco with its mystic and incredible Tomb of St. Francis, down in the crypt. Assisi with the Basilica of San Francesco and other Franciscan sites are inscribed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO.


Road distance from Foligno to Monte Subasio

410 km
Cathedral and Duomo in Amalfi

Cathedral and Duomo in Amalfi

Amalfi is located in the Gulf of Salerno in the Tyrrhenian Sea. I enjoyed this little coastal Italian town. From the 9th to the 13th century, Amalfi was one of the main ports in Europe. Due to this significant geographic feature, the town has beautiful monuments that reflect that important era. Inside the cathedral’s crypt, we can visit the Shrine of Saint Andrew where his relics rest, after being brought from Constantinople back in 1206.

10-Amalfi Coast

Incredible Amalfi Coast in Italy

Incredible Amalfi Coast in Italy

Amalfi coast consists mainly of rocky cliffs and is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in Italy. Driving from Amalfi all the way to Positano is amazing, and although the road is narrow, I advise to stop along the way to make pictures. The Costiera Amalfitana is inscribed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO.


Road distance from Amalfi to Positano

Beautiful Positano view

Beautiful Positano view

Positano is, most probably, the most charming town on the whole Amalfi Coast. Looking at it from afar already gives you a clue of what you are about to see: a popular Italian town where the landscape of the Mediterranean Sea and the mountain combine beautifully with the inclined streets.

12-Archaeological Area of Pompeii

Road distance from Positano to Pompeii

The Temple of Jupiter in Pompeii  ancient Roman city

The Temple of Jupiter in Pompeii ancient Roman city

Pompeii is one of the most famous sightseeing places in Italy. Being a thriving city of the Roman Empire, Pompeii was founded in the 6th century BC. Unfortunately what made this city famous today, was the disgrace of others. Back in 79 BC, Pompeii together with Herculaneum, Stabiae, and Oplontis were destroyed by the eruption of the Vesuvius stratovolcano. Due to this natural disaster, Pompeii got buried under several meters of volcanic sediments that preserved it from weather and looting – while it rested untouched for almost fifteen centuries. The Archaeological Areas of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Torre Annunziata are inscribed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO.


Road distance from Pompeii to Rome

The Colosseum in Rome

The Colosseum in Rome

Rome is the capital of Italy since 1871, and it contains many of the most famous European historical monuments. Rome was also the capital the Roman Empire for several centuries. The numerous monuments of Rome are precious witnesses of the past, having survived through the ages. The Italian capital is an outdoor museum as there are thousands of tourist attractions to discover.

The Roman Forum in Rome

The Roman Forum in Rome

Because of its ancient history, Rome is a city where you must stay for a few days to have time to explore its never ending monuments, churches, museums, archaeological complexes, old squares, and palaces. The most famous monuments in Rome are the Catacombs, the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, the incredible Roman Forum, the Palatine, the Pantheon, the Piazza Venezia, the Piazza della Repubblica, and the Santa Maria Maggiore.

Trevi Fountain in Rome

The Trevi Fountain in Rome

The Historic Center of Rome, the Properties of the Holy See in that City Enjoying Extraterritorial Rights and San Paolo Fuori le Mura are inscribed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO.


View of St. Peter's Square from the top of Michelangelo's dome in the Vatican

View of St. Peter’s Square from the top of Michelangelo’s dome in the Vatican

Vatican is a small landlocked city-state inside the Italian territory. Its capital is the Vatican City, where the Pope is the sovereign and chief of state. The Vatican is the smallest country in the world and the least populated. The Vatican, famous archaeological site of the Roman world, located on the hill with the same name, is the seat of the papacy and the Catholic world.

Inside St Peters Basilica in Vatican

Inside St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican

According to Catholic tradition, it goes back to St. Peter himself. You need at least one full day to visit the Vatican Museum with the Sistine Chapel, St Peter’s Square, St Peter’s Basilica and St Peter’s Dome from where you can have a 360º outstanding view over Vatican and Rome. The Vatican City is inscribed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO.

How to rent a car in Italy? Venice Car Rental

I made my road trip in Italy with a small Fiat 500

I made my road trip in Italy with a small Fiat 500

Renting a car anywhere in the world is relatively easy. In Italy, there are hundreds of car hire companies available. I rented my car through the Internet, and everything went OK during the whole process. Due to the excessive amount of car hire companies in Italy, prices often drop – in Italy you can also get tiny but economical cars.

Searching a car on the internet:

Online car rental to pick up in Venice

Online car rental to pick up in Venice

After a quick car search on the Internet, you come up with several types of cars. Some rental companies won’t charge you anything extra for dropping your vehicle off in another city. A One-Way Fee can make a big difference to the total price of a rental – so if you’re comparing prices, make sure you check.

For a small car + GPS + One-Way Fee – you should expect to pay around 20€ / $22US per day.

You can choose to land at Marco Polo Airport (VCE) and visit Venice for a few days, and then pick up the car either at the airport or a rental office out of the city.

Remember that Venice city center has no car rental pick up sites, so you might as well as just take the taxi boat back to the airport and start your trip from there. After your road trip, you can drop off the car at Rome Fiumicino Airport (FCO) in Rome. Renting a car with a GPS is very useful.

Rentalcars.com – Find cheap Car Hire in Venice or Car Hire in Rome.

Visual artist shares inspiring photos and exotic travel destinations. Adventure travel blogger with ideas and narratives to motivate independent travelers and audacious backpackers. Intense journeys into more than 126 countries around Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Europe, North America, South America and Oceania since 1999. Expat in Morocco – North Africa since 2007, polyglot and proud Lonely Planet Pathfinders blogger.

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7 Comments. Leave new

When I was young, our family would travel to Northern Italy every year. It is a beautiful country and your photographs have brought back many happy memories.


Good post and great pictures, Sir. I really enjoyed your road trip in Italy, It was wonderful and amazing, wasn’t it? I hope that one day I and my friends will have a great trip in Italy like you. Thanks for your sharing and cheer!


thank you so much for your positive feedback on my page. I appreciate your words. Italy is a great travel destination with great historical cities, amazing food and impressive landscapes. You have to go! greetings from Morocco.

john wombacher
June 14, 2015 7:08 pm

Cool stuff Johnny, that would be a dream come true, you took all those photos? Incredible, thanks man !


Hey Boss! thanks for your comment. It makes me really happy we finally stay in touch. Yes I do all the pics on this website. Italy is a fascinating place. This little road trip was amazing. Greetings from south Morocco!


Wow, the view from the top of Monte Subasio is absolutely breathtaking! I really enjoyed this post, and your tips on how to rent a car will definitely be helpful for anyone considering a road trip in Italy. (Thank you for pointing out the one-way fees– that’s definitely something that is easy to overlook!)


Thank you for your positive feedback on this road trip article Jessica. Italy is an amazing country, this trip is just a bit of what we can do in such amount of time. I hope I will come back soon and do some more! Have a nice week!


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