Crossing the alps to the dolomites is a truly breathtaking drive not for the faint-hearted. So many quaint villages here that have more in common with Switzerland/Austria than Italy (some even speak German). When you need a break from the amazing landscape drop down onto the coast and do the Venice thing before heading west through Verona & Bologna and hit the east coast at Levanto to base yourself for an exploration of Cinque Terre.
Following the road south to Lucca takes you into Tuscany, a magical land that no amount of words or pictures can describe. From the cities of Florence & Pisa to every hill-top village like Cortana, you just have to see it for yourself.