I know it’s been a while since my last post but I have a really good excuse for it, I was in Italy! Or as many here in Austria would say, in Bella Italia!
This September me and my boyfriend (god bless him) got the chance to take a one month road trip through the north of Italy and most of Tuscany. I cannot begin to tell you how many wonderful landscapes and beautiful cities we saw (and how much delicious food we consumed)! And here comes the best part: we decided to take this trip with the camping van!
At first it was a little bit tricky, you obviously have to get used to driving such a huge vehicle and, as you may know, streets, motorways and especially drivers in Italy are not always the easiest to deal with. But with perseverance, a good sat-nav and lots of planning we managed to get through this journey unharmed and dazed by the many advantages a camper may offer.
So, if you wish to visit Italy with a camping van on your next vacation, here are a few tips I’d like to share with you:
1. App park4night
Unfortunately in Italy you cannot park your van wherever you want. You have to make sure that you are allowed to park in a specific area, otherwise huge fines may knock on your door. So my advice is to download (for free) this life saving app, especially if you just made a last-minute deviation and did not have much time to plan your route. The amazing thing about this app is that it tells you not only where you can or cannot park but it also tells you what kind of parking area it is (so if it’s just parking or a camping area, with or without services and with or without costs). Also, for each area you get reviews from other travellers, which is quite helpful especially if you don’t know the area and want to avoid traffic sounds or to make sure that it is a safe place to stay overnight.
2. Beware of the sign
You are driving to the next town and are looking for a place where you can empty your sewage and see a traffic sign which tells you that a rest park with camping services is nearby and you may think “lucky me!”. But you are wrong and, just like many other services in Italy, it’s out of order. So, remember, do not wait, empty your sewage when you have the chance!
3. Over-priced gas stations
Of course, people who are used to travelling by car already know that it is usually more convenient to fill up in town rather than along the motorway. This is even more true for Italy, where, in comparison to Austria, prices are extremely high. So bear that in mind and don’t wait till the very end, otherwise you will find yourself paying 1,99 € per L for a f****ng Diesel.
There are still many places in Italy, especially if the area is not overflown by tourists, where only cash is accepted. For example, motorway toll services are not the most updated ones, so it would be wise to always have some extra cash.
5. Bring that bike
If you have the possibility to bring your bicycles along, do that! If you want to visit all those lovely beautiful old Italian cities, there’s no way you will be able to park in town. So, if your parking place is quite far away and you want to avoid taking the bus (which I strongly recommend), enjoy the landscape and sweat out all of that pizza you just ate, then cycle your bike! Don’t forget your locks (yes, I am using the plural form) and maybe even remove your seat to be extra sure that you will find your bike where you left it.
I hope this has been helpful and if you have any questions, feel free to contact me!