From Rome to Sicily, passing by the Amalfi Coast, we drove a bit more than 2200kms in an 8-day South Italy winter roadtrip during that took our breath away.
Every road leads to Rome, right? This time we went away from it. I’ve never been in Rome before (or Italy) so this trip was something I really looked forward to. After a bit of planning me and my wife decided to ditch Rome and go totally for the Amalfi Coast, Hiking in Mount Etna and Sicily. We can always find a time to go to Rome if we want.
I’ll answer to questions like “why did we go in the middle of winter?”, “what is the weather like?”, “where to stay?” later on. First the itinerary:
South Italy winter roadtrip Itinerary
We had a few days off for Christmas holidays so this was the perfect time to do an 8-day long roadtrip. Our dates were from December 20th to the 27th, but this trip can be done at any time during the year.
- Day 1 – Arrival
- Arrived to Fiumicino airport at 11pm, immediately went to pick our rented car at the airport.
- Drove 15 minutes from Fiumicino to Lido di Ostia, where we would spend the night.
- Day 2 – To Ravello in the Amalfi Coast
- Drove 4 hours from Lido di Ostia to Ravello in the Amalfi Coast.
- Great scenery from the Vesuvius when going up towards Ravello, make sure to stop in one of the few viewpoints to enjoy the view
- We spent the next 2 nights in Ravello.
- Day 3 – Spent the day in the Amalfi Coast’s towns
- Drove the “Amalfi Drive” road (SS 163) passing through Ravello, Atrani, Amalfi (spent walking a few hours in Amalfi), Praiano, to end at Positano (spent the rest of the day until sunset in Positano).
- Back to Ravello for the night.
- Day 4 – To Mascalucia, Sicily
- Drove 8 hours from Ravello to Mascalucia (Sicily)
- Even though it was a long drive, it has a really nice scenery so didn’t feel it that long.
- After 6 hours you need to take the ferry from Vila San Giovanni to Messina, 20 minutes to rest 🙂
- We spent the next 2 nights in Mascalucia
- Day 5 – Mount Etna hike
- More detailed Etna hike itinerary here!
- We woke up in Mascalucia with the beautiful sight of Mount Etna (active Volcano)
- Hiked in South East Etna (near Rifugio Monte Zoccolaro)
- Visited the Cassone lava cave
- Then drove to Rifugio Giovanni Sapienza, in the southern side of the Volcano and where the lift starts
- Back to Mascalucia for the night
- Day 6 – To Palermo
- Drove from Mascalucia to Palermo but we didn’t want to stay in the highway so we took a secondary road with more things to see.
- The drive was: Mascalucia, Nicosia, Agira (We stopped at Agira and by chance we found that the castle has amazing views to Etna), then continued to Cefalu (walked around the city) and just before sunset we arrived to Palermo.
- Stayed in Palermo for the night
View from Agira’s castle
What attracts me to volcanoes so much is that as destructive as they are, without them we wouldn’t be here. They are the blood of our planet which shapes continents and thanks to their ash the places around them are the most fertile soils you can find. . This is from the top of Agira’s castle in Sicily. Thanks to a guard dog (that wanted to totally rip us apart while barking) we discovered a flock of sheep having a meal with the imposing Etna Volcano.
- Day 7 – To Salerno
- Drove back 8 hours north from Palermo to Salerno
- Walked around Salerno and enjoyed their big boulevard with Christmas Lights
- Spent the night in Salerno
- Day 8 – To Fiumicino Airport, Rome
- Short 3-hour drive from Salerno to Fiumicino
- Returned the car
- Flight left at 3pm
This is how it would look like in the map
Why winter time?
First the flights for us from Helsinki to Rome were really cheap, we booked with Norwegian. As it is winter there isn’t that many tourists as in summer, which makes it even easier to find parking places everywhere. Then we travelled during Christmas time so it was even more quiet, we had just a bit of traffic before Christmas, specially when taking the ferry to Messina, as locals were on the way to see their families.
6 of 7 days were sunny with little or no clouds, the last day rained like hell but we were on the way to the airport. In Amalfi can get windy but it didn’t bother us that much. Temperature wise it was between 10C to 17C and the sun made it much warmer. At some point during the day we just took our jackets off. Have in mind that nights can be pretty chilly, so when looking for an Airbnb or hotel make sure that they have a good air conditioning system.
Where to stay?
For this trip we stayed in a mix of hotels and Airbnb’s. I can recommend all of them (I’m not getting paid for this, it is my own opinion). We prefer Airbnb’s before hotels as you can live like a local at least for a few days. We use hotels when we don’t know exactly at what time we would arrive to a certain city and usually I get them with breakfast included 😉 then they become very handy.
Lido Di Ostia: Hotel Sirenetta
Ravello: Airbnb, Rafaelle’s “Unbelievable new house sea view”
Mascalucia: Airbnb, Andrea’s “Penthouse Etna”
Palermo: Airbnb, Davide’s “Lovely independent apartment”
Salerno: Salerno M’illumina
Find me here! Happy to help -> @mercurial_traveler