Campervan hire Italy
Ancient Romans and Renaissance art, pizza e pasta, fashion and the finest luxury cars––Italy’s been adding colour to our lives since Before Christ, but it’s il Belpaese that is most tricolore.
Basil, mozzarella, tomato. Like caprese, the Italian tricolore is a sure sign you’re onto something good. That’s why you’ll spot the green, white, and red banner when sipping prosecco along a Venetian canal, biting into a slice of pizza margherita in Naples, or hiking between the colourful cliff towns of Cinque Terre––it’s because Italy has la dolce vita written all over. Want to get a taste of the sweet life yourself? Hire a campervan in RV-friendly Italy and find out why they call it il Belpaese––through little piazzas, arching duomos, rustic trattorias, and the ever-passionate Italians; and from hypnotising glacial lakes around Milan, to rumbling Mount Etna on Sicily.
Getting around Italy by campervan
Diesel for your campervan hire in Italy is more expensive than in most European countries, but about the same price as in neighbouring France. The countries to its north are cheaper, gas-wise, so consider fueling up there when hopping borders on a road trip.
Speeding limits for campervans and motorhomes on Italian highways are 130 km/h (80mph), while expressways are limited to 110km/h. Regional roads are limited to 90 km/h (55mph), and urban areas have speeding limits of 50km/h (30mph).
Almost 75% of the country is mountainous. Fortunately for your RV rental in Italy, the autostrada (highway) has plenty of tunnels and bridges. Avoiding highways is possible, though secondary roads tend to be busy, and may take 2-3 times longer. Also, beware of speeding vehicles.
You pay tolls when driving your rental campervan on the Italian autostrada. Toll costs are roughly one euro per seven kilometres, and are paid with cash or card via a ticketing system.
Italy has plenty of motorhome stops around the country, called aree di sosta, both equipped and unequipped. Apart from these parking spots, campsites are widely available for campervanners––though not as much as in France.
Travel costs for campervans (apart from diesel) in Italy are average for European countries. As for food, a three-course meal for two costs €50 on average. You don’t need to tip in Italy, and a supplement is already included in the bill, but feel free to tip if you want to.
Italy’s climate is Mediterranean,with hot summers and wet winters. Cold winds enter Italy from the Alps in the North, while the coasts have a higher average temperature due to the mild Mediterranean sea.
The Italians are courteous and open, their ways of communicating expressive and theatrical. Northerners tend to be a bit more reserved than the southerners, who are warmer in temperament. Italians are intuitive people, so try to return friendly gestures as much as you can.
Italian is spoken by over 90% of the population. Other than that, half of the people have a local dialect (often these are mutually unintelligible) as their mother tongue. Almost a third of the people speak English. If you choose to only learn one word in Italian, let it be grazie (thanks).
Pizza and pasta are modern staples, but you only learn exactly how tasty these dishes can be once you’ve visited Italy––and there’s way more to Italian cuisine! Apart from pizza napoletana and spaghetti al ragù, try ossobuco (braised veal shanks), and have a gelato on a hot (or cold) day.
Few countries can claim to have been the centre of the world. Italy can––it holds at least three titles with such prestige! The first and foremost title, that of world conqueror, was with the ancient Romans who conquered much of the known world; from the shores of Iberia and Britain, to the fertile valleys of Asia Minor and North Africa. But, after a long period of steady decline (because that’s what world empires do, they cave in on themselves), the remains of the Roman Empire were ravaged by Germanic tribes––and the Empire was no more. But that wasn’t all for Italy. About 600 years later, the centre of the western world was again on Italian soil, this time as the centre of trade. The maritime cities of Venice, Genoa, and Pisa had established sea routes linking the west to the ancient trade routes between Africa, the Middle East and Asia, making the independent city-states filthy rich in the process. A third noteworthy time where Italy was the epicentre of the western world, was during the famous cultural Renaissance of art and philosophy. Sparked in Florence, the Renaissance changed Western thought all the way in Netherlands and Germany. Looking back at Italy’s phenomenal history, one thing’s sure: the Boot sure has some kicking power!
Armed with those three themes, a road trip through Italy becomes an endlessly interesting ordeal. Look for remnants of the ancient Romans, from Capitoline Hill and the Roman Forum in the epicentre Rome, to Pompeii and Herculaneum, smothered whole by looming Mount Vesuvius. Or stand in awe of the might and splendour of Italy’s maritime power mongers: take a romantic gondola ride along the Venetian canals, visit the Rolli Palaces in Genoa (a whole neighbourhood worth of palazzi), and take what has to be Italy’s most popular selfie at the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Last but not least, search for signs of the Renaissance in the city of the Medici, Florence. The cradle of the Renaissance, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, and Raphael all learned the tricks of the trade in Firenze! But the real icing on the cake that is your campervan or motorhome road trip has to be the food. Wherever you go, and whatever local speciality you decide to try, the Italian fondness for finesse, wholesomeness, and local produce will make your experience as rich as an oozing ball of mozzarella.
What to discover
In and around the country
You’ve heard the stories, seen the photos, and probably considered going there yourself. Cinque Terre is hot and happening––for all the right reasons. The five villages along the Golfo dei Poeti that make up Cinque Terre - Monterosso, Vernazza, Riomaggiore, Corniglia and Manarola - are out of this world, their joyful colours hugging sheer green cliffs besides the azure Mediterranean.
Not only is a campervan hire in Italy perfect for a romantic road trip to Cinque Terre, but hiking trails between this region’s towns makes this a proper outdoor experience too!
The ancient Romans were a civilization as thoroughly sophisticated and weird as modern-day society.
The heart of the Roman Republic, the Roman Forum is where senate was seated, tribunes were elected, triumphs were held, and Caesar proclaimed himself dictator perpetuo––so don your toga, step onto the forum, and get a feel for greatness!
Tre Cime di Lavaredo
The Three Peaks of Lavaredo are the perfect destination for adventurers looking for the whole shabang––towering peaks, sweeping panoramas, eden-like valleys––without the challenging hikes. The Tre Cime are fairly easily accessible, providing great hiking routes that are easy to moderate, in a stunning environment.
The hike to the Three Peaks is about 9 km (6 miles), takes 3-4 hours, and is family-friendly. Also, there’s free parking for your campervan near the start of the route!
Travel to Abruzzo
Dubbed Italy’s last wilderness by the locals, Abruzzo is an unspoilt piece of western Italian coastline. With wild national parks, pristine beaches, and a backdrop of white-crested mountains, the landscape of Abruzzo sure makes a case for the locals’ claim. After being struck by an earthquake in 2009, which devastated the provincial capital l’Aquila, the region failed to attract hordes of tourists––so the time to rent a campervan in Italy and explore undiscovered sites and quaint villages between the Apennines and the Adriatic Sea is now!
A road trip through Abruzzo starts in Rome, from which it’s only a short drive to Monte Velino, one of the highest mountains in Central Italy and the perfect vantage point to get a feel for the region. Visit nearby Alba Fucens, an ancient Roman-Italic town built on a plateau that dominates the surrounding valley. From western Abruzzo, make your way down to Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo, the heart of Italy’s greenest region. With its lush valleys, pristine lakes, cavernous hills, and abundant wildlife, here you’ll really see why Abruzzo is the country’s last wilderness––and why it’s perfect for road trips. Human settlements in the area are a perfect reflection of the land, as is shown in Scanno, an enchanting medieval hilltop town built out of stone and folklore fantasies. But more than green mountains and pearly lakes, Abruzzo is also Adriatic blues and beaches, along which idyllic coastal towns and weird wooden fishing piers are built. Finish along the Trabocchi Coast, and visit Vasto, a medieval village with sweeping views of the Adriatic, to make your campervan hire in Abruzzo an everlasting memory.
RV Rental in Campania
Set at the foot of rumbling Mount Vesuvius, the southwestern region of Campania is everything you love about Italy, and yet it is so much more. From tomatoes from San Marzano and Amalfi Coast, to Pompeii and one-and-only Neapolitan pizza, some of Italy’s best known views and flavours hail from Campania. And while the region suffers a bit from a bad reputation, the campani (the region’s locals) are some of the warmest and welcoming folks you’ll have the pleasure of meeting on your Italy road trip.
Hire a campervan in Campania’s capital Naples, home of some of Italy’s best cooking traditions. Naples is where you’ll taste your best pizza margherita ever. And where you’ll learn what al dente really means when it comes to cooking pasta. But la vita bella is not just about eating; it’s also about spending days on the beach and swimming in the azure waters of the Amalfi Coast, a gorgeous stretch of Italian coastline. Finally, Campania also allows you to travel back in time, history’s most (in)famous volcano Vesuvius having buried the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum under ashes and pumice and making open-air museums out of once-thriving Roman settlements.
Campervan hire in Lombardy
Lombardy in northern Italy, with its capital Milan, is rich, lavish and grand. Rich as in the richest region and financial hub of Italy, but also rich sights and in history and culture. Lavish as in lakeside villas along the Como Lake, or the extravagant fashion of Milan. Grand as in the demeanour of cities like Bergamo and Brescia, and the soaring Alpine backdrop. With its pearly lakes, mighty mountains, and stunning cities, the region that borders Switzerland offers road trips that blend adventures in nature and the allure of Northern Italy’s glitter and glamour.
Rent a motorhome in Lombardy and start exploring the region from Milan. Before you leave for your Italian road trip, climb the Duomo’s roof to get spectacular views of Italy’s most fashionable city. From Milan, make your way up to the glacial lakes. Visit Lake Como, in which glimmering reflections of aristocratic palazzos and elegant Bellagio Village add colour to pearly waters; or head to Lago di Garda, famous for its thermal baths, crystal-clear waters and the medieval Sirmione overlooking the lake. And don’t forget to visit the gate to the Alps, Bergamo, with its stunning Città Alta. And Brescia, its old town so pretty it’s been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Look on Italy’s map and you’ll see a tiny sliver of crescent-shaped northwestern coast named Liguria. Zoom in on the region, and you’ll see a Mediterranean oceanside paradise full of green mountain terraces, ancient forests, sheltered coves, and the five colourful cliffside communes known as Cinque Terre. Liguria is home to the immensely encaptivating Italian Riviera, stretching from France to Tuscany.
Start your Italy RV Rental in Pisa, from which it’s only an hour to La Spezia, at the far southern end of Liguria. From the port city, take the ferry to the Gulf of Poets and the breathtaking Cinque Terre, or start in Portovenere, another gorgeous seaside town, and hike the cliffs to nearby Riomaggiore, first along the line of the five villages of the Golfo dei Poeti. From the ocean to the road, Liguria’s capital is worth a visit too. Genoa is one of Italy’s three ancient maritime cities; independent states that got super rich off trade, and in which the lavish riches are clearly visible. Visit Genoa’s Rolli Palaces (a whole neighbourhood of palazzi) and sample the local pesto alla Genovese, before heading south and heading into France!
Tuscany Road Trip
Tuscany is not just central Italy; some might say it’s the hidden heart of the Boot. Home to Florence, cradle of the Renaissance, the rolling hills and farmlands of Tuscany are like paintings, its cities architectural masterpieces, and the local cuisine a philosophy of Slow Food. And apart from the iconic hills topped with Renaissance churches, Tuscany landscape has coasts with long sandy beaches and rocky cliffs, forested hills, and snow-capped mountains. In other words, Tuscany is perfect for an Indie road trip!
Hire a campervan in Tuscany starting from Pisa, one of the region’s most astonishing towns. The maritime city state is home to the Leaning Tower, but that’s just one of the wonders along Piazza dei Miracoli. Nearby Lucca is astonishing too, it’s old town putting a medieval spell on you. From there, head inland to visit Florence. Firenze shows signs of the Medici, powerful bankers and patrons of the arts, wherever you look. Who issued the building of the cathedral? The Medici. Who did that palazzo belong to? Yep, the Medici. And who collected all the art of the Uffizi? We’ll let you do the guessing.
Campervan Hire in Veneto
In northeastern Italy, from the Dolomites to the Adriatic, this region belonged to the Venetian Republic for over a thousand years. With its dreamy canals and Gothic architecture, Venice is the region’s definite highlight, but the maritime powerhouse annexed a few extra city-states that are highly worth a visit too. Once you’re done with visiting cities, pretty as they may be, the Dolomites offer daunting hiking and cycling routes in summer, and epic skiing slopes in winter. And then there are thermal springs, the Garda Lake, and of course the mesmerizing Venetian Lagoon.
A motorhome road trip in Veneto can only start in one place. That’s right, hire a campervan in Venice, but only after you’ve visited the glamorous canals, strolled Piazza San Marco, and marvelled at Saint Mark’s Basilica. Drive over to Verona, with its enchanting medieval old town and best known for being the stage to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Or head to Padua instead, another city-state with mesmerizing medieval architecture. From there, head up to the Dolomites to give your Italy road trip an adventurous twist!