The price from Zephyrus includes a custom-planned itinerary, a pre-programmed GPS unit, and the required insurance. How does a week touring Tuscany or Abruzzo sound to you? For ideas on touring Abruzzo, check out the two most recent issues of Automotive Traveler.
One-way return airfares from Rome to the United States are still reasonable, around $500. Or... consider a round-trip ticket that would allow you to fly back to Europe in the fall to take a return cruise back to the States.
The high seas--and the roads of Italy--are calling you. Prices are volatile, however, especially with the current crisis in the Middle East, so in the spirit of full disclosure, be prepared for fuel surcharges beyond those mentioned above. With the economy still struggling and the cruise lines needing to keep cabins filled, though, this might be the perfect time to treat yourself to a trip you'll be talking about for years to come.