We last camped in Italy 28 years ago and it was not a very ‘nice’ experience. The campsites were basic and the facilities were unspeakably disgusting.  So it was quite an eye-opener to return. 

It is not easy finding open campsites in Italy in February and March.  A few more open up in April, but many seem to be open for just a couple of months in high summer.  Using our ACSI app together with one called Youcamp  we did mange to find somewhere to stay almost every night, apart from in Sardinia, where the only open campsite was a veritable quagmire.  Most of the open campsites had cafes or restaurants, but usually they didn’t open until April or later.  The facilities were mostly very clean with ordinary toilets (not the ‘squat and thrust’ types), although it was common for the loos to not have seats.  Most pitches were quite large and well tended.

Driving in Italy was an ‘interesting’ experience (as in ‘may you live in interesting times’).  After driving in Tunisia, it seemed, at first, to be a more relaxing experience.  Nope! Most Italian drivers seem to feel that they are the only people on the road.  They come round blind corners on the wrong side of the road, follow the white lines down motorways even when overtaking and show a remarkable lack of consideration for other road users.  They do not let you out of junctions, will cut you up at the drop of a hat and when they overtake you on the motorway, they do it VERY fast and VERY close, quite often not bothering to go the whole way into the outside lane.  I have a very strong startle reflex, and to have a car go zoom 6 inches from your ear every 10 minutes or so is not the most relaxing of experiences.  Tim heaved a huge sigh of relief when we entered France.  Just as we had to reassess how boring Holland looks after we had visited northern Sweden, we now realise that the French are exemplary drivers.  It was notable, however, that the driving was markedly worse in the south of Italy, especially in the towns.

Most Italian motorways are excellent, consisting of an endless string of bridges and tunnels cutting straight through the mountains.  Some are in better condition than others, the toll roads being, on the whole, in very good repair.  You can tell when the peage ends by the increase in potholes.  Some motorways have one nice new, straight carriageway while the old road is quite horribly bendy.  The tolls in Italy are quite steep     

We saw diesel priced between €1.48 and €1.65, so it’s worth shopping around.