The Italian journalist Beppe Servergini sums up his country perfectly.
“Italia is a maze. It’s alluring, but complicated. It’s the kind of place that can have you fuming and then purring in the space of a hundred meters, or in the course of ten minutes”.
We have done a lot of purring, and fuming in the last few weeks while we toured round Italy, and you can read some of our stories here.
The roads are terrible. The campsites, camperstops and fuel are expensive. The people often off-hand to the point of rudeness. The sight of young women prostituting themselves by the side of the road is heartbreaking.
But the coffee is sublime, and cheap – even in service stations. The fresh produce transforms even the most basic cook into a masterchef.
History is everywhere, the lemon trees are very pretty, and the wine is pretty good. And the views…Mount Etna, the mountain villages of Liguria, Venice…the views are to die for.
We arrived in Italy – Venice to be precise – on a ferry from Greece on Saturday 14th January, and crossed the border into France on Friday 3rd March.
We spent six weeks in Italy, not counting the six nights we spent in Malta and Gozo, and as you can see our trip took us mostly around the coast, as well as to the beautiful island of Sicily.
Set out below are the places we stayed at overnight, with pieces of key information as well as our views about each one. The listing represents the order in which we stayed at each place as we travelled, not any sort of ranking. Though we sometimes fumed ? and other times purred ?
The prices are the ones we paid (often using our ACSI discount), and may not necessarily be available in the future. ‘All services included’ means you don’t have to pay any extra for electricity, wifi or showers – though everywhere charges extra for their washing machines.
The time of year meant that of those campsites with on-site shops and/or restaurants that are open in high season, all but a handful were closed when we were there.
Camping Fusina, Venice
Location: N 45.419167, E 12.255833.
€19.40 per night, all services excluding wifi.
Mix of gravel and grass pitches.
Kiosk just outside entrance.
This large campsite is superbly located, with an hourly boat to Venice (the journey takes 20 minutes) just 200m from the site, as well as a bus stop right at the entrance. It is also very close to the ferry port.
Even allowing for the time of year, some parts of the site looked uncared for, and the chemical toilet disposal wasn’t working. We were advised to use the grey waste facility, which happened at several other places around the country ?
But it is perfect for easy access to Venice, so this one had us ?
Camperstop Ravenna, Piazza della Resistenza
Location: N 44.41433, E 12.18852.
Public car park with a few bays for campers, though cars also used them. There was supposed to be a camper tariff of €2.50 for 24 hours, but the machine didn’t work properly, so instead we paid €2.25 for a day’s car parking (08:00 till 18:30).
There were toilets available for 50c, as well as a grey water drain on site.
The camper parking bays were quite exposed, near to a pavement and houses, but the night passed quietly enough. The car park is just a few minutes’ walk from the historic town centre, famous for its mosaics, and where Dante lived and is buried.
Cheap, not particularly cheerful.
Camper parking, Cesenatico, Piazzale della Rocca
Location: N 44.19855, E 12.39086.
Free site dedicated to motorhomes with disposal services and water.
The lovely heart of Cesenatico is just a few minutes’ walk away. The site is quite secluded behind some houses, though it’s also close to a busy main road. One van seemed to be the ‘office’ of a prostitute: maybe not the most salubrious overnight stopping site!
Cesenatico, however, is beautiful, and definitely worth a visit.
Area Camper Pro Loco, Loreto
Location: N 43.44125, E 13.61491.
€12 per night, which includes disposal services, water and toilets. €3 extra for electricity (16A) and €1 for a shower.
Amazing hilltop views from this site, which is just a few hundred metres from the great Basilica della Santa Casa. The shower only works for four minutes, and the water never got hot enough in the allotted time.
Oh, and the wifi is switched off at night…?
Parking Tolomei, Via Marinelle, Petacciato Marina
Location: N 42.03219, E 14.85844.
€10 per night, including water and chemical toilet disposal. Supposed to be an all-year round spot, but the shower, toilet and wifi were not working. €2 extra for electricity.
Noisy site, situated right next to the main road. Didn’t seem to be any other shops or other facilities nearby. Fine for one night, no longer
Torquemada Beach Hotel Sosta, Margherita di Savoia
Location: N 41.3834, E 16.1387.
€15 per night, including electricity, water, toilet, shower (hotel staff provide a key), grey waste.
The parking comprises a dedicated section for campers inside the grounds of a hotel/leisure complex.
The shower was the best one of our trip so far ?. The beach and the town are close by, as are the salt flats with their pink flamingoes.
Camping Thurium, nr Corigliano Calabro
Location: N 39.691389, E 16.522222.
€11 per night, including electricity, water, grey and chemical waste disposal. An extra €1 for 3 or 4 shower tokens.
Grassy surface, most parking in shade.
A large campsite/camping village, right by the beach. We found the shower block was perfectly fine, so it must have been improved since the visit last year by MagBazTravels, see their review here
Taureana/Lido di Palmi beachfront car park
Location: N 38.3936, E 15.8624.
A well-lit car park, right next to the beach and close to the harbour town.
A good location, let down by the amount of rubbish lying around the car park and on the beach.
We had tried to stay at the Palmi Camperstop across the road, which was advertised as open, but as they didn’t answer their phone ? we chose the (free) car-park instead ?
Camping La Timpa, Acireale (nr. Catania, Sicily)
Location: N 37.62, E 15.173056.
€17 per night, all services included (although no grey waste disposal that I could see).
Access to the site is down a couple of kilometres of very steep and winding roads – you’ll need good brakes!
Only a small, grassy section of the site was open – it was a bit muddy and untidy. The restaurant on site was open, to locals as well as campers, but the pizzas were poor ?
Parking Lagani, Giardini Naxos, Sicily
Location: N 37.82092, E 15.26753.
€13.50 per night (for stays of 3-6 nights), including all services.
A generally very well organised site, with the best laid-out service area I’ve ever seen!
The sizeable bay resort town of Giardini Naxos is a 1.5km walk, and the gorgeous town of Taormina a short bus ride away. And the view of the smoking Mount Etna will take your breath away. A bread van and orange seller visit the site each morning.
Definitely worth a stop over ?
Camping Rais Gerbi, Finale, Sicily
Location: N 38.022778, E 14.153889.
€19 per night, all services included. Wifi was often poor.
Village of Finale is around 800m away, with shops, bars, restaurants.
A large and very well organised site; good-sized pitches flanked by tall trees; a great location by the sea; and a welcoming owner with a wry sense of humour. A pleasure to stay there, and good discount for long-term stays in the low season.
Finale village, with two supermarkets, restaurants, bars and cafes only 10 minute walk. ?
Area Sosta l’Ippocampo, Nettuno
Location: N 41.47354, E 12.68916.
€15 per night, including electricity, water, grey waste and a basic toilet; shower wasn’t working.
A secure parking lot, with the gate locked and a guard on duty overnight.
Supposedly an all-year round camperstop, this was essentially a storage yard for both motorhomes and boats when we were there. Ridiculously overpriced for the quality of the site and services available.
We fumed slightly. ?
Real Village, Rome
Location: N 41.885278, E 12.3875.
€19 per night, plus €2 per head per night city tourist tax – all services included apart from wifi.
Shop and restaurant on site, open all year.
Gravel or ashphalt pitches.
The high quality camper facilities are part of a much larger sporting and leisure complex, in a great location, just off the main ring road.
A bus stop and train station are a 10 minute walk, with great services into Rome. A further big plus was the heated floors in the shower blocks, and the hairdryer in the ladies! ?
Parco Cittadino, Ficulle
Location: N 42.83044, E 12.06828.
Free car park dedicated to motorhomes. Toilets, water and waste disposal services available.
Located opposite a carabinieri station.
The car park is on the edge of this beautiful village in the Umbrian hills, with views to die for. The village is old with lots of character, and the camperstop was free. Definitely had us purring! ?
Gelsomino car park, Florence
Location: N 43.75173, E 11.24388.
A public car park with an overnight rate of €15 per 24 hours. Water and waste disposal facilities available, but no electricity.
The bus stop for the city centre is right by the entrance; alternatively, it is 40-45 minutes’ walk to the Duomo (but NB, it is a substantial hill on the way back!).
A great option for a visit to Florence, as access to the city centre is so easy.
Motorhomes are encouraged, however there is no electricity, as advertised on more than one camperstop website, and no dedicated parking bays.
Parcheggio Camper, Pisa
Location: N 43.72106, E 10.42066.
Dedicated parking for motorhomes, €12 per night including waste disposal services and water. An extra €3 per night for electricity.
Petrol station, neighbourhood shops and bars nearby.
A great location for a visit to Pisa, with its famous tower only 2km away. We received a cheerful welcome from the German man who works at the reception. ?
Camping Valdeiva, Deiva Marina
Location: N 44.225278, E 9.550556.
€17 per night, all services included. Wifi works in the pitches close to reception but occasionally cuts out.
Free, on-demand shuttle into the town of Deiva Marina (3km) and back.
We didn’t visit this time, as we were saving our energies for Apricale, where we spent our last few days in Italy with friends in their home, while our van rested outside.
Apricale is one of the beautiful mountain villages of Liguria and well worth a visit, find out more from our friends’ website here.?