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Freecamping in Italy

An article on motorhome rest areas (aree di sosta) in Italy, submitted to the Motorhome List by Helmut Prokop and reproduced here with his kind permission.
(This was written some years ago and there are now several options for motorhomes to stay overnight free or for a small fee. We hope to update this article in due course)

You will find good indexes on: http://www.turismoitinerante.com and http://www.camper.netsurf.it (with a comparable content to the above) (Text on both sites in Italian language) Not all of those listed areas are of the same quality.

You will find - dedicated motorhome rest areas, mostly with service facilities (water dump, fresh water) - service points without the possibility to sleep overnight - simple parking areas that are suited for staying overnight

The latter areas are based on the allowance to sleep in your car/motorhome/coach/truck on any public parking space to restore your driving ability, unless it is forbidden by a specific sign (e.g. no parking for motorhomes from 22:00 till 08:00). You should not use these areas longer than 24 hrs.

Dedicated motorhome areas you may use with unlimited duration, unless the duration is limited by a sign. In practice you will find especially in touristic areas that motorhome signs are very present. Either they show you not to stay or they show you where the next dedicated motorhome area is. Mostly dedicated motorhome areas are free of charge, some private areas with extended service facilities will be charged. Additionally, in larger towns or at places with limited parking space (e.g. Venice) there are parking areas where you have to pay parking fee for motorhomes as well as for cars, especially during the day.

Common regions with rest areas are especially Tuscany, Umbria, Emilia Romagna, Marche, i.e. primarily the middle Italian regions. Although there are also areas near the sea, the rest areas are mostly situated for visiting towns and villages. To spend your holidays for swimming in the sea you should better stick to campsites.

A region with more restrictions is also South Tyrol (Südtirol / Alto Adige). This might have to do with the extensive tourism in that region and with the mentality of the German speaking population for having exact regulations.

Italian motorhome drivers usually know very well where to stay. If you find several motorhomes parking, you may assume that you will not be bothered during the night. Sometimes it could be that motorhome areas are completely occupied, especially on public holidays during the low season ("long weekend"). Italians don't care, they usually take the next suitable lane. Once in Caorle (low season) I found a large parking space with unmisunderstandable signs "no motorhome parking". The area was occupied by about 100 motorhomes during the night. I was totally sure that there would not be any problem to stay.

On every type of rest area you must not put any camping equipment outside your motorhome. Sun blockers, chairs and table are restricted to campsites. Sometimes you might find an area where it is "common practice".

As an alternative you might find suitable restaurants with an ideally suited parking space. Asking for allowance to stay overnight provided you consume a dinner, is a good advice especially in wine regions ;-) Being "on tour" with a motorhome in Italy mostly means not having problems with overnight parking. Looking for "common places", i.e. having your eyes open, promises a good place.

Helmut Prokop

Editor's note:
Direct link to searchble listing:
http://www.turismoitinerante.com/php/sosta/italia/so-italia.php3


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