RV'ing in Italy
July 7, 2009 11:45 AM   Subscribe

Ok, I conquered the US, now I want to go RV'ing in Italy!! Anyone with experience?

We just got back from our RV tour of the west (previously) and I LOVED it! Just LOVED it! I was scared to death to go, having never done anything like that, but it was fabulous. What a way to see the country. I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone, especially those with kids. Ok, enough chatter. We are seriously thinking about flying into Rome next summer and renting an RV to see Italy. I've done some online research and it doesn't seem too complicated, of course, I'm only in the earliest stages of investigating. Has anyone ever done this? Do my Italian Mefi friends have any ideas, any details I should be made aware of? Do you know anything about RV sites in Italy? Of course, we'll need passports, etc. but what about driver certifications? Any stories and or advice will be great. Thanks all and go RV'ing this weekend!!
posted by pearlybob to Travel & Transportation around Italy (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Driving in Italy is one of the most awesome experiences on earth. Driving an RV in Italy? Yuck. You won't even be able to go into any of the towns or cities, aside from cruising nervously down the few big streets. If you're ok with staying out of town with your vehicle, using it as a campsite and base for taking the long trek into each city you want to visit by bus, you'll have a great time.
posted by The World Famous at 11:58 AM on July 7, 2009

I don't have experience with Italy - but I have RV'd thru Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. The World Famous is right about having problems with even the smallest of RVs fitting into the narrow streets of Old World cities. We managed but had some close (and nerve racking) calls.
posted by quodlibet at 12:01 PM on July 7, 2009

You should expect that at some point there will be sheep on the road.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:01 PM on July 7, 2009

Make absolutely sure the routes you plan to take have ample space for driving. My family went through some charming towns in a small van (we're a family of 5 lanky characters), and some roads were tight for that vehicle. Even if roads are pass-able, you'd need to have enough space to park and whatnot. You might be confined to the larger cities and metropolises, given the scale of the communities I've seen.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:43 PM on July 7, 2009

Are you aware of how expensive gas is in Italy?
posted by ethnomethodologist at 1:45 PM on July 7, 2009

France might be a RV friendlier option if you fancy it - Italian drivers are a bit crazy..
posted by laukf at 2:55 PM on July 7, 2009

Nthing that Italy is not a great choice for RVs and the suggestion you try France instead. Italy = narrow streets, tiny roads and you will miss the best parts of Italy if you're resticted to an RV. France is more RV friendly really.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:11 PM on July 7, 2009

The tens of thousands of RVs (which in Italy are called "camper") I see here beg to differ with most of the answers above (except for the sheep, but just in some regions).

Get good maps such as the Touring Club Italiano or Michelin, if driving along narrow, curvy roads is challenging, keep to the main roads (highways, freeways, "strade statali") and you'll get pretty much everywhere. Of course, there's the Alps and the Apennines, so even the highways can get quite curvy. Diesel is about €1,10/lt at the moment, so this is going to be a major cost. The price is more or less the same across EU, mind you (I found Spain and Eastern EU countries to be a bit cheaper).

A few things to keep in mind:
- in Italy (this holds true for most of Europe) you can't stay outside campsites or public RV areas.
- on the other hand, campsites are plenty and most small towns have (free) public RV areas.
- campsites are usually out of town, especially in major cities; research or inquire about availability of public transportation.

In most cities and towns you'll visit, the sights are in the city centre within walking distance from one another, so the best plan is to leave your RV at the campsite or in a parking lot out of the city centre, and use public transportation. Parking or negotiating narrow roads with an RV is a problem, yes (I suggest to look for a compact model), but you usually want to leave your RV outside and walk there. In most larger cities you can't even enter the centre without a permit anyway.

Re: driving license: I think you need an international driving permit - you can obtain it from the AAA or the NAC

Finally: don't believe all the bullshit about italian drivers. We're not crazy, we're... interesting (ahem). Seriously, though. I've been driving here my whole life, never had an accident. Not even a scrape. One gets used to it quickly, all my foreign friends and acquaintances say.
posted by _dario at 7:08 PM on July 7, 2009

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