If someone said they were going to explore as much as they could of a country in three days I would generally offer all sorts of advice whilst trying to hide my concern through a smile. I am generally quite skeptical to this notion, but when my Brother and I had a few days up our sleeve and this country at our feet, we wanted to give it a real go.
We had considered many transport options, but were reluctant to ever seriously consider anything else than to hire a car. This would provide us with the greatest freedom; to stop when we pleased, experience the small streets and aggressive driving, venture through places we would never have heard about.
Our plan was to drive through the lake district. Spend a day and night in Como, walk through Brunate, drive north along the Lago di Como and then catch the ferry across to Bellagio from Griante. From there it was all roads to Verona for the night, enjoying the winding roads down along the lake through Lecco. We would spend the next day exploring the city of Verona, before tracking back to Milan to jet out.
Upon arriving in Malpensa, we headed straight for the car hire. Got lost due to poor directions, then eventually found Europcar (it is downstairs FYI). It wasn't until the agent announced our car that two cheshire cat grins were enough to accept the transaction. A black Fiat 500. It seemed perfect for the next few days ahead.
It was like we imagined it would be. Driving in Italy is as beautiful as walking or catching the train. It offers you another exciting glimpse into this amazing country. Mind you, we were travelling in the north so the quality of the roads are likely to change depending on what region you are travelling in. But if all you have is a few days and a need to get around, then this is your best option.