If you’ve ever heard anyone discuss visiting Italy, particularly motorhome owners, they will probably express either a love or a hate for the place. Of course the Italians are known for being passionate and people watching there is a delight as you witness them wear their hearts on their sleeves in everything you do. Of course this passion is also displayed on the roads where they frantically weave in and out, constantly beeping horns, although passionate it never seems aggressive.Italy’s landscape has it all from lakes and mountains to coast and countryside. I’m glad to say that after 2 short 2 week stints in Italy we are very much in the “love” camp, and intend to keep going back to explore some more of this beautiful land.
Roads & Sat Nav
Well what can I say, the Italian roads are notorious, and so we’d been pre-warned by lots of others that they are the worst in Europe. Obviously the lovely folk doing the warning are yet to travel to Eastern Europe then or even Greece, as we certainly didn’t find the Italian roads too bad by comparison. The tolls here are pay at booth and a relatively cheap so we did opt to use them to save ourselves the hassle and Boris the wear and tear. Yes of course there are potholes, after all the country is nearly broke, and the drivers are a little crazy, although we both agreed that Romanians are far worse, but generally speaking the roads we travelled on were OK overall. Admittedly we haven’t done a vast amount of miles here compared to some countries, but we’ve still survived it twice.
Ancient sites and visitor attractions
Well it’s no myth that Italians are disorganised, so you have to be patient as they just don’t do things very logically, but that’s part of experiencing other cultures and appreciating the good parts of your own! Visiting in October gave us the benefit of being in the off season, although both Venice and Lake Garda were still very busy. Try and avoid weekends where both places fill up.
Fuel & Gas
Fuel stations are plentiful but it’s expensive here compared with the rest of Europe 1.36€ a litre, so we didn’t bother as we knew we were heading to Spain next by ferry where we know its much cheaper. We’ve heard reports of some others being refused when they have tried to fill up with LPG here in Italy so we made sure we were full before we came.
Supermarkets & Shopping
We did a couple of shops at Lidl’s in Italy and after Croatia found it cheap. A pack of 4 large chicken lags 3.69€, 1.5 litres of Rose wine 1.59€. Milk 0.59€.
Wild camping and campsites
Italy is very motorhome friendly and has an array of parking opportunities. Wild camping is accepted here, but there is such a choice of Sosta’s (Italy’s equivalent of an aire) and campsites that you may not need to. Many of the Sostas are also free and have full service areas where you can empty and fill. We always ensure we go on a secure area or campsite though near cities as these of course are where most criminal activity takes place. Paul also stays in the motorhome whilst I do the supermarket shop to avoid anyone taking advantage. The standard of both the sostas and campsites here is good.
Water & Waste
With so many Sostas there are loads of opportunities to fill and empty.
We only had one meal out in Italy this time and didn’t choose well as it wasn’t great. Lukewarm pasta served at the restaurant on our campsite near Venice. The only good thing about it was the price! There are plenty of opportunities to eat out fairly inexpensively here if you wish and still experience delightful food. Of course the Italian ice cream is to die for and MUST be sampled at every opportunity. It’s still the best we’ve had on our travels.
There are loads of huge dumpsters everywhere along the roads or in car parks, and most places also offer recycling.
Wifi is widely available in bars, restaurants and campsites and signal was generally good. Campsites do charge extra here though so as we had our 3G we didn’t bother paying for it. The campsite at Lake Garda wanted €15 for 3 hours!!!
The Italian People
As I said in my introduction the Italian’s are naturally passionate and don’t think anything of having a blazing argument right in front of you. That said, you get what you see and we found them very friendly and accommodating.
Our adventures continue with more updates from Spain coming soon.