Getting almost anywhere by car is a snap, as several major highways intersect at Milan, all connected by the tangenziale, the city's ring road. The A4 autostrade runs west to Turin and east to Venice; the A1 leads south to Bologna, Florence, and Rome; the A7 angles southwest down to Genoa. The A8 goes northwest toward Lake Maggiore, and the A9 north runs past Lake Como and into Switzerland’s southernmost tip.
To get around the lakes themselves by car, you have to follow secondary roads. The SP572 follows the southern and western shores of Lake Garda, the SS45bis edges the northernmost section of the western shore, and the SR249 runs along the eastern shore. Around Lake Como, follow the SS340 along the western shore, the SS36 on the eastern shore, and the SP583 on the lower arms. The SS33 and SS34 trace the western shore of Lake Maggiore. The SP469 runs on the western side of Lake Iseo, while the SP510 borders the east. Although the roads around the lakes can be beautiful, they're full of harrowing twists and turns, making for a slow, challenging drive—often with an Italian speed racer on your tail.
ACI. Your car-rental company should be your first resource if you have a problem while driving in Italy, but it's also good to know that the ACI, the Italian auto club, offers 24-hour roadside assistance (no fee for members, fee for nonmembers). 803/116; www.aci.it.