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Lutz

Italy, And Not Just The Italian Lakes

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I quite enjoyed reading the thread about the joys of France until it got a bit out of hand. Within that thread there were also various references to caravanning in Spain as well. What surprises me is how little one hears about Italy, although it's no further than Spain. I've been to France a couple of times and also to Spain but until a few years ago northern Europe was more my territory. Now that I'm no longer limited to school holidays I can avoid the summer heat around the Mediterranean and tour that part of the world in more temperate weather. I've found that I've developed a weakness for Italy, and not just the Italian lakes, although I haven't ventured south of Rome yet. We went to Italy last year, again in spring this year (a bit more ambitious this time - to Sardinia) and we're off again tomorrow.

Of course it is a bit easier for me because I don't have to cross the Channel first, but otherwise the distances are about the same compared with someone living in the south of England.

 

Any italophiles around here?

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Lutz

 

We have been to Italy several times, mainly in the North and Venice, the latter being Margaret's favourite place. One year we did venture down to Rome. We have been as far south as Sorento but that was on a tour. I would certainly encourage more people to give it a try. As far as distance is concerned Venice is about the same as the South of France but perhaps the difference, from a UK point of view, is that you have to navigate across several countries. Why that is an issue I am not sure but it might explain. Perhaps us Brits have always considered France our nearest Continental neighbours so perhaps unsurprising that many visit, like it, and go back time and time ago.

 

David

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I've been with the caravan a couple of times to Lake Garda & loved it, I drove to Venice & several other places whilst there, my only concern about further south is the state of the roads for towing a van, again I think I would plump for an area & use the car for sightseeing.

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Another reason for going to France is the get up and go system - no booking and no problems with getting a site - perhaps a bit more difficult in August BUT then only around the coast - we spent six weeks there this summer, August and September, and had absolutely no problems and there are just so many sites - we love it.

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Another reason for going to France is the get up and go system - no booking and no problems with getting a site - perhaps a bit more difficult in August BUT then only around the coast - we spent six weeks there this summer, August and September, and had absolutely no problems and there are just so many sites - we love it.

 

No different in Italy. Found some lovely sites there without booking in advance. At the moment Tuscany is our favourite.

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Even those who have never thought of going to an opera performance should go see operas in the open air Roman arena in Verona - it runs most days from 22 June to 1 September 2018, and the schedule is already on line. Take a cushion and a rug and buy tickets on the day for the cheaper unreserved stone seats high up - get there early to bag your place, food and drink and ice cream will come round, the intervals are long and the show won't finish till well after midnight. The audience behaves like an Italian football crowd, they boo, they whistle and they cheer, and the star singers milk the applause.

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Lutz don't get me wrong we love Italy - many years ago back in the sixties my wife and I took tourists around the country on coach tours and we did this for five years usually for around seven months of the year, it is a magical country and we have been back several times since, just never with the caravan.

Edited by TedNewman

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My lasting memory of caravanning in Italy is being on a site just outside Venice with a 2amp hook up!! The fan just about spun round!! This was in the 80's so hopefully things have improved. I think Kontiki Kid is our forum expert on Italy.

 

Phil.

Edited by phil1041

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We've been down to Italy once with the caravan and to Austria numerous times, including this year. What used to be a very pleasant ride through Belgium/Luxembourg/Germany (a few different routes) has now become a chore though, mainly due to roadworks on the German autobahns. Other people we met on site also commented on it this year. It feels as if the roadwork budget is running out and had to be spent, all at the same time. We have said we won't travel that far down into Europe again - but we'll see!

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My lasting memory of caravanning in Italy is being on a site just outside Venice with a 2amp hook up!! The fan just about spun round!! This was in the 80's so hopefully things have improved. I think Kontiki Kid is our forum expert on Italy.

 

Phil.

 

But did you enjoy Italy? As far as electrics are concerned there are a few campsite in Italy that have 3/4 amp electricity but the common ampage now is 6amps. It's just a question of research. Even on low ampage of 3/4 amp sites its enough to run the fridge and charger. As an average fan only takes 40 watts even with a 2 amp supply you would be enough ;)

 

David

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Well I never went back, probably put off by the drivers who as I remember were completely crazy. I am talking about caravanning, I have visited Milan several times for concerts however, lovely people when not behind the wheel!

 

Phil.

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We will be heading for Italy and maybe Sicily next year or 2019.

What three months of the year does anyone recommend?

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At the moment we are at Baverno on Lake Maggoire,we set off September 1st and sail home September 30th. We have spent time in Holland for a flower parade,then on to Bingen on the Rhine,off then to Innsbruck and then down to Venice. From Venice to Lake Garda then to Maggiore.

Tomorrow we leave for the Alsace then through Luxembourg back to Holland for a few days before home. We called it our Grand Tour,and it's lived up to all our expectations. The weather has been mixed but fine in the right places,most of the sites have been surprisingly busy but we have always found a pitch. What has been the main highlight is Italy,the people and the country is so welcoming we cannot praise it enough.

 

John.

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I don't think Italy is quite so geared up for touring caravans as other European countries particularly France and Spain.

 

My thoughts about Italy are:

 

- Roads poor quality and narrow. Even on dual carriageways the lanes are tight. Many roads in v poor condition.

 

- Lots of campsites around the Italian Lakes but they tend to be very cramped and busy, almost like shanty towns.

 

- Away from the Lakes good sites few and far between. Hookups of low amperage

 

- As far as I can tell, there aren't lots of footpaths and bridleways to explore the countryside and not the same rights of access as the UK and perhaps France and Spain.

 

All that aside there are some great places to visit but perhaps it's just not so touring friendly.

We will be heading for Italy and maybe Sicily next year or 2019.

What three months of the year does anyone recommend?

Mid April til mid July

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Been to Italy many times with the caravan over the past 25 years or so, mainly in the north, but we have also been south of Naples. You'll find that sites are harder to find as you go further south, especially away from the coast. Don't expect as much space as you would typically find on sites in the UK, and, as mentioned above, you'll not often find 16 amps! We were on a site in the south last year where we struggled to run more than a light bulb and the fridge.

 

The quality of roads can vary, and some major roads can have narrower lanes than we would often see at home, but given the condition of many of the roads here nowadays, I don't think we can complain too much about Italian roads. A lot is said about standards of driving in Italy, and although it is true that it is worse in the south than the north, I don't think you can say that things are that much worse than you would find in many parts of this country.

 

I would agree with what's been said above about getting to Italy via the likes of Belgium or Germany - roadworks, and general congestion, over the past few years have made the journey an absolute misery at times. I've done the journey by a variety of routes, with and without a caravan, over the past few years and had some awful experiences, not always just at busy weekends in peak season. One of the biggest problems some times can be getting in to service stations on the autobahns and getting parked. At times, I've even seen cars parking on the hard shoulder and people walking in to the service area. When it's busy I tend to leave the autobahn and go into nearby towns and villages for fuel or food, although that can present its own challenges when you are travelling with a caravan.

 

All said and done however, don't let it put you off - as you are no longer tied to the busiest times of year, like us, you will find it amazingly quiet in some areas and towns. Well worth the effort - enjoy your trip!

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Hi Lutz, we have only been as far South as Cecina with the van and most trips have been to Lakes-Garda/Como/Maggiore but if we had to choose one place that we could go to it would be to Peschiera Del Garda at the Southern tip of Garda.

 

The area is lovely and there are so many options once there. The lake is beautiful and there are many villages to visit,either by car or boat, there is the cable car to Monte Baldo, Verona and Juliettes balcony, Venice etc etc.

 

The climate, food and people of course add to it and whist there are some drawbacks-Milan in the rush hour comes to mind-they are no greater than other countries.

 

In regard to the quality of sites-"Lots of campsites around the Italian Lakes but they tend to be very cramped and busy, almost like shanty towns"-the ones we have used are generally very good and our favourite at Peshiera is probably the best overall we have stayed at.

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Perhaps you could share with us the good sites. ..

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We spent 7 months touring Italy and Sicily from late November 2016 until June 2017 using ACSI. We never prebooked except for Christmas which we regretted!

 

So much to see and do,we could have continued for years. All campsites and our blog can be found at www. thomsonstravels. co. uk

 

Roads are occasionally poor, but with care are not a problem. Litter around Rome and Naples is out of control. If you like history, you are in for a treat.

 

Sicily is just amazing.

Oh yes, an addendum to the above. We found the lakes boring but around the Alps the views and wildlife were absolutely amazing.

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At the moment we are at Baverno on Lake Maggoire,we set off September 1st and sail home September 30th. We have spent time in Holland for a flower parade,then on to Bingen on the Rhine,off then to Innsbruck and then down to Venice. From Venice to Lake Garda then to Maggiore.

Tomorrow we leave for the Alsace then through Luxembourg back to Holland for a few days before home. We called it our Grand Tour,and it's lived up to all our expectations. The weather has been mixed but fine in the right places,most of the sites have been surprisingly busy but we have always found a pitch. What has been the main highlight is Italy,the people and the country is so welcoming we cannot praise it enough.

 

John.

A couple of years ago we did the 'Classic Grand Tour' Venice, Florence and Rome - fantastic!!

For me the only down side of Italy is the tolls - wow are they expensive. We have been as far as Sorrento and the tolls did amount to a few quid.

Alan

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We took our caravan to Pompeii in 2014. ..Camping Spartacus right opposite the entrance! Excellent and amusing site as the cabins lining the camp perimeter were rented by the hour!!!

 

Took excursions to Amalfi coast and Paestium. Stayed at Bolsena on way back. ..Blue Camping volcanic lakeside pitch. Superb.

 

Stayed at Camping La Futa and another site outside Florence. Train station near sites but I drive in and parked at the station underground car park. Florence is a wonderful city. ...just keep the wife away from the Ponte Vecchio gold shops!!

 

Went to see the the Ravenna mosaics. Stunning! Parked literally round the back of the main mausoleum . ...2 for day!

 

Fuel is expensive in Italy and the roads can be unloved. Drivers tend to hog the white line on most roads to avoid crumbling edges. ...which regrettably resulted in a head on crash for us. The one place to avoid at all costs is an Italian Hospital. You would never again complain about the NHS.

 

We havent returned, partly because of our experience and treatment. ..silly I know. But I also cant get excited over the long drag around Milan and across the Lombardy plains. Like the M25 plus the Cambridge fens for mile after mile. Boring.

Edited by ericfield
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Thanks guys for the positive comments re Italy.

Our holidays are extending, 3 months last year, 4+ months this year (many 1000s of miles).

Next year planning 1 month then 3 months - and Yipee we are not going back to the UK.

2019 - who knows!!!

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We have been to Italy many times over the years but just 3 with the Caravan. Italy is our 3rd favourite country after Austria and Germany.

 

Our trips are mentioned with ACSI Campsites we have visited in Italy. Tuscany is our favourite area but really enjoyed Sorrento area and far down near Bali on the heel where we stopped at Alberobello to view the wonderful Trulli Houses. Cinque Terre is lovely too.

See website in my signature below.

snooks

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Well, we're there now, enjoying the late summer sun on a site in Tuscany but on the coast, not far from Pisa.

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