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AOSTA (Valle d’Aosta): Sosta

A parking area beside a covered market: not available on market days.

If arriving from the direction of Turin, follow the SP to ‘Centro’ from the Aosta Est spur road off the autostrada, then after c.3.5km take a right slip road which is SP ‘Ferrovia FS’ with the train logo. This is at a point where the main road rises, the slip road goes down underneath the main road (best located in red Michelin Italia on right edge of the city environs map). Ahead at the traffic lights – main intersection – then the Sosta is on the right in about 400m., at a corner with another road (viale Garibaldi) coming in from the right. It’s quite near the railway station, right beside the ‘Z’ on the Michelin city centre map. There will probably be other motorhomes there unless it’s market day. Waste dump and fresh water in front of the covered market. [2001]

Amenities: lovely old town with Roman theatre and triumphal arches – architecture – excellent Cafés – superior shops – Restaurants (truffles in season, local speciality)

Recommended: the central ‘Place’ and Town Hall [Photo]  ---

the café on the corner to the left of the town hall (behind where the photo is taken from) ---

the Roman Theatre and its façade ---

the triumphal arch of Augustus.

BEVAGNA (Province of Perugia, Umbria): Restaurants

Recommended: 'Osteria del Podesta’ in a former wine cellar at Corso Matteotti 67, about opposite the Palazzo Communale: excellent modern food at very reasonable prices, it was newly opened when we visited [1998] ---

Ristorante ‘Ottavius’ via del Gonfalone 4: in a wine cellar under the public buildings in the centre, excellent traditional food in a lovely atmosphere ---

Civic Theatre ‘Teatro Torti’ inside the Palazzo dei Consoli in the central piazza (not always open but a gem, enquire at tourist office) ---

Adanti wine estate just off the road between Bevagna and Montefalco, producing ‘Sagrantino di Montefalco’: very friendly welcome, esp. from the elderly winemaker if he’s still there (he speaks good French), very good wine at reasonable prices. Cash Only when I visited and shuts for lengthy lunch [1998] ---

Montefalco itself is worth visiting for the lovely compact piazza and even more for the church of San Francesco on a street off to the left of the piazza. Within there are magnificent and varied frescoes by Benozzo Gozzoli, C15 masterpieces.

BRÀ (Province of Cuneo, Piedmont): Sosta

Apparently there is an allowed parking area in the town centre on Piazza XX Settembre but this may not always be available, especially if there are markets, food or cultural fairs in progress. The biennial 'Cheese! ' fair organised by Slow Food takes place here in early September - next one 2007. Alternative motorhome parking is on an area off the lower corner of Piazza Giolitti, also accessible from via Gorizia -- past the railway station on Piazza Roma and then turn left off via Trento e Trieste down a narrow street. This too may be occupied by a morning-only market. Ask, I found the locals very friendly. [2001]

Amenities: Cafés – Restaurants – Enoteca - Shops

Recommended: Enoteca 'Per Bacco' via Audisio 41, on the right side of Piazza Roma in front of the station. A wide choice of Langhe wines at prices commensurate with quality.

CANNARA (Province of Perugia, Umbria): Sosta

South of Assisi, open all Year.

Situated on the car park of the town's Sports Stadium, west of the town centre. Follow signs for 'Stadio'. The Carabinieri have an office/house at the end of the road. The MH area is to the right and the Service Point (splendid Fiamma installation) in the far corner of the car park. Due to the earthquake in September 1997 which devastated parts of this area, temporary homes for displaced families have been erected on part of the car park but there is still enough room. Level tarmac, fresh water on a pillar and grey/black waste disposal at ground level. [1998]

Amenities: Bustling old town – Restaurants - 'real' Italy - central for visiting wineries and Etruscan remains, esp. Urbinum Hortense (beyond Collemancio) which is in the process of excavation. Collemancio itself is a delightful small hill town.

CASTELL’ARQUATO (Province of Piacenza, Emilia-Romagna): 3 Sostas

The crossroads at the entrance to the town has signposts for authorised parking areas: one is to the left and also provides for articulated vehicles and trucks; the other two are at the back of the town and are in my view preferable – turn right at crossroads below the town (if in doubt turn left and park in the main car park, there is a seasonal Tourist Office at the crossroads) and follow signs. Turn left in about 400m. and follow road around behind the town. The first area encountered is backed by trees but has commercial waste containers placed on it. Continue on uphill to the parking area in front of the cemetery, this is in my view the preferred location. Splendid views over the town. [2001]

Amenities: Historic Old Town - Restaurants – Enoteca (not always open) near Tourist Office in upper town - Shops – Cafés – Supermarket in the lower town.

Recommended: the central area around the Castle and Church is a gem ---

view from the Cemetery and the originality of the streets which lead from there downhill to the piazza ---

restaurant ‘La Rocca-Da Franco’ via Asilo 4, in corner of the cobbled piazza in the upper town.

CASTELLINA IN CHIANTI (Province of Siena, Tuscany): Sosta

Open all Year

A public car park at the north-eastern edge of the town. Approaching from the SS2 Florence-Siena motorway via Poggibonsi, turn Left at the T-junction at Castellina itself (do not go into the main part of the town). The sosta is on the left in c. 500m. behind some acacia trees. Etruscan chamber tomb adjacent. Gravel, water and grey/black waste dump at ground level ahead as you enter the car park. [1998]

Amenities: Cafes – Restaurants – Wine - shopping - Etruscan remains

Recommended: Antica Trattoria ‘Le Torre’, Piazza del Comune: moderately high prices but good quality and interesting menu, this is where I heard a diner with a North American accent ask of a waiter: "Don’t you have a Caesar Salad?".

CAVRIAGO (Province of Reggio Emilia, Emilia-Romagna): Waste disposal only

Open all Year. West of Reggio in the direction of Montecchio.

A Service Point ONLY at a Fina fuel station on the edge of the town. No signs until 50m. from the service point and extraordinarily difficult to find. If needed look for 'Co-Op Centro Commerciale' on the SP513 road which by-passes the centre of Cavriago. Fina Station is at the junction with another road at the entrance to the Co-Op car park, which is suitable for overnight stop with care and discretion, but not recommended. [1998]

Amenities: Supermarket – Fuel - Cafe

ETROUBLES (Valle d’Aosta): Campsite

‘Camping Tunnel’, turn off the main road at the very sharp bend just before the river bridge and fuel station in the village centre.

One of very few campsites between Aosta and the Grand St.Bernard Pass. Quite small and terraced, with many statics. Good washrooms 7/10 and Bar on site. Close to the village. Very suitable for an early-morning run over the pass or to get through Switzerland by evening, otherwise not very enticing. [2001]

Amenities: Fuel Station – Restaurants.

Recommended: ‘Croix Blanche’ opposite the fuel station has excellent ambience in an Alpine style with food to match.

FONDOTOCE – Lago di Mergozzo (Province of Novara, Lombardy): Campsite

‘Continental Lido’ beside the lake of Mergozzo

A huge site with access to the lake, pitches are not marked out and it’s difficult to determine their boundaries. Moderate amount of shade. Popular with families of all nationalities and reasonably quiet considering this. Bar, restaurant and shops on-site. Washing facilities reasonably good 5/10. In my view best considered as a base for visiting Lake Maggiore and its islands. Public bus service from outside the campsite into Verbania but check timetable carefully in advance. Also leave enough time to check lake ferry tickets and timetables as there are many combined-entry options to choose from. [2001]

Amenities: few locally, some Bars in Fondotoce – Lake ferries from Pallanza and Verbania/Intra – Restaurants and Shops galore in Pallanza and Verbania.

Recommended: the waterfront at Pallanza [Photo] and the Osteria above the enoteca 'Vineria Italiana' , Vicolo dell'Arco 1, c. 200m away from the centre in direction of Fondotoce   ---

ice-creams from the man with bicycle at the ferry station Intra/Verbania, not cheap but superb quality ---

the Islands : Madre [Photo], Bella [Photo] and dei Pescatori, I thought they really did live up to their spectacular but very busy reputation.

MASERNO – MONTESE (Province of Modena, Emilia-Romagna): Campsite

‘Ecochiocciola’ situated on the edge of the village of Maserno.

In the foothills of the Appenines south-west of Bologna, probably best approached from the A1 via Vignola. Part sloping, a few flat pitches beside the swimming pool which are unshaded, a lot of statics. Lovely views from the pitches nearer the front. Bar and restaurant on site (pizza speciality): very good cooking for a campsite. Occasional exotic specialities as the site is run as a work centre for immigrants to Italy. Washing facilities adequate 5/10. [2001]

Amenities: Bar and restaurant in village – walking in the hills.

MONTEPULCIANO (Province of Siena, Tuscany): Sosta

Approaching from A1 Motorway Florence-Rome via Chanciano Terme on SS146 or from Lake Trasimene, turn left at the final junction at the foot of the historic old town before the 'Gate' and before parking restrictions bite. It's not worth trying to get any further in an MH. The road then bears round to the right and goes past the Bus Station. Continue ahead, go round behind the Fire Station and then to the left, the sosta is on the edge of the precipice - literally! Tarmac, water and grey/black waste dump at ground level, but site also used by trucks and Circus when in town. Waste water dump unusable when I visited due to blockages but there is a storm drain in the middle of the tarmac. Only really suitable as a parking place from which to visit the town but plenty of MHs stay overnight -- I wouldn't stay if I were the only MH there. [1998]

Amenities: shopping – Churches - Cafés (some superb) – Restaurants – Wine – Grappa – scenery - historic Tuscan hill town.

Recommended: the Piazza Grande and its buildings ---

‘Café Poliziano’ unchanged since early C20: on the left about half-way up the steep main street (via di Voltaia nel Corso) ---

‘Trattoria Diva e Maceo’ lower down on via Gracciano nel Corso ---

Avignonesi wine shop about opposite at no. 91(‘Grappa di Vin Santo’ and ‘Grifi’) ---

Poliziano wine estate on the road towards Montepulciano Stazione (high quality ‘Vina Asinone’ and less expensive generic wines, they take CCards)

NIZZA MONFERRATO (Province of Asti, Piedmont) : Sosta

In the town centre, find the far corner of the main Piazza Garibaldi away from the main shops: straight ahead is No Entry (a slip-road off another main road) but turn right: the sosta is in Piazza Pertini, right turn across a side road and beyond a classy bathroom shop. Turn left into the parking area, the sosta is behind the wire fence against an elevated road. It’s possible to go around the main Piazza Garibaldi in an anti-clockwise direction if you don’t spot the road first time. If in doubt park in the main piazza and ask – I found locals very friendly, one drove ahead in his own car to show me where to go as he had anticipated what I was seeking.

This sosta is operated by the ‘Camper-Club Nizzese’ as a facility for visitors, they are very proud of it and I’d recommend anyone to see what could be done in UK given some effort. No charge, water and electricity provided free, and totally secure (as far as a 2m. chain-link fence can be). You are invited to telephone the number shown on the locked gate, or if you wait in the car park someone is likely to turn up to let you in at around 1700hrs., or the owner of a motorhome already installed may let you in. When I visited the club had a small caravan on the site in which they had plentiful tourist information. The only drawback is some noise from the adjacent main road. [2001]

Amenities: delightful town with C19 architecture and impressive arcaded streets -- superior Cafés – Shops – excellent Restaurant within 200m. plus many more – Wine Museum – Distillery 'Berta'.

Recommended: restaurant ‘le Due Lanterne’, piazza Garibaldi 52, fairly expensive but welcoming and excellent quality ---

Distilleria 'Berta'  Strada San Nicolao 30, over the railway tracks on via Roma then fork right at the second road. It's on a corner, ring the bell beside the large metal gate: excellent (fairly expensive) ‘Zerbasso’ cherry acquavita and ‘Elisi’ grappa with a hint of orange peel, one of Italy's finest ---

the local wine co-operative 'Cantina di Nizza ' is at strada Alessandria 57 -- the road to Alessandria on the edge of town: decent cheap Barbera d’Asti and better oaky ‘Ceppi Vecchi’.

PAVIA (Lombardy): Campsite

‘Camping Ticino’ via Mascherpa 10 at ‘Bagni Chiozzo’

This site is listed as 1.5km. outside the city but I think that means beyond the city boundary as it seems a long way out. It seems to lie off an unofficial ring road to the south of the city. There are SP from the main approach to the city from the A7 but I thought I was lost before I found it. There do not seem to be other sites from which to visit Pavia. The entrance is very narrow between walls, the site is flat mostly grassy and touring outfits are placed on an open area beyond the (mostly well-kept) statics. [1998]

Recommended: an excellent and very Italian pizzeria which is about 300m. along the road to the left of the site entrance, set back from the road.

PERUGIA (Umbria): Sosta

Open all Year

At ‘Piazzale Bove’, a huge car park below the main town, with a Service Point beside some trees on the right as you face the car park from the road. Also used by tourist coaches. The car park is in the middle of a one-way multi-lane system, consequently I found myself going round twice before I found the entrance. Directions given are "leave motorway SS75/E45 at exit PERUGIA-PREPO". Turn towards Perugia itself and after c. 500m. negotiate the one-way system. There is an API fuel station close to one end of the car park, and a multi-storey Carabinieri office overlooks the car park. Police cars whizz through the car park throughout the night! [1998]

If you like a challenge, locating this sosta is for you. Night halt (use discretion!) or waste dump only, it's not near the historic city centre.

PISA  (Province of Pisa, Tuscany): Camping

'Torre Pendente', listed in TCI Guide as at Viale delle Cascine 86, is situated 1km W.of the 'Camposanto' and appears to be the only campsite close to the city. [1998]

This campsite is on the southern edge of the city, is very busy in season and, based on a 1998 visit, not very appealing. Pitches were poorly marked and small. Washing facilities when we visited were mediocre quality 3/10 and there were small bunkhouses for the cheap coach tours which use the campsite. But it is convenient for the city and sightseeing. The walk into the city is about 1km on the flat and takes about 20 minutes, buses do stop outside but it does not seem worth the wait. There is a cheap supermarket on the right just after the railway crossing on the way in to the city. NB: The road and the pedestrian walkway go through a short underpass at the railway line. It seemed reasonably safe during daylight but I wouldn't want to use it at night. We chose to take a taxi back when returning from a restaurant at night.

Pisa is a 'must see' on anyone's itinerary. The ecclesiastical centre is a wonderful ensemble. My experience of eating in Pisa is that it can be rather expensive and disappointing, or moderately priced and memorable, my preference is to avoid the restaurants that take bookings from coach tours.

RADDA IN CHIANTI (Province of Siena, Tuscany): Sosta

Appears to be open all year.

From the West on SS429 from Castellina and Poggibonsi, at the entrance to the village keep right on the through road. Ahead on the right c.200m. a short avenue of trees beside railings. Turn Right before the railings, a reverse angle and a steep descent (care needed). 'Sosta' is on the left c. 100m. Several individual terraced areas, gravel, Portaloo may be available. Water. A little shade. Steps up to the village -- the sosta is below the railings mentioned above; good Pizzeria at the end of the sosta. Likely to be several or many other MHs in residence. Recommended. [1998]

Amenities: beautiful surroundings – Restaurants – Wine – walking - old village

Recommended : Pizzeria adjacent to the sosta (can be very busy) ---

restaurant ‘Le Vigne’ which is in the middle of vineyards c.1km. out of town in the direction of Villa – turn right onto a vineyard track at a bend in the road before Villa (may need to book).

Walk to Volpaia -- good orienteering skills and detailed map required, but a fine walk.

RAVENNA (Province of Ravenna, Marche):3 Sostas

The first is in a large parking area just outside the city walls, also used for parking of tourist coaches, at Piazzale della Resistenza. If possible follow P signs for ‘Bus Turistici’. A take-away food wagon is sometimes situated on the parking.

The second is on a parking area on Via Teodorico, a one-way road which is at right-angles to the Mausoleum of Teodorico. Go round the one-way system ‘circonvallazione’ over the railway lines after passing the Rocca Brancaleone fortifications: the road then turns right alongside the railway lines but then move into the left-hand lane and turn left. Via Teodorico is then a left fork after about 200m. This is marked ‘camper service’ on the excellent Tourist Map of the city, it has a waste dump and fresh water point.

The third is at the church of Sant Appollinare in Classe, a few kilometres south of Ravenna in the direction of Rimini. This is worth a morning visit in its own right for the amazing mosaic decoration. The sosta is beyond the church on the left, part of a large parking area. [2001]

Amenities: high quality Shops – Restaurants – Cafés – Churches with mosaic decoration which I can only describe as stunning – Museums – the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, justifiably a World Heritage Site.

Read some history books before visiting Ravenna to get the most out of it, and binoculars are a help in appreciating the wonder of mosaics which are tens of metres up above.

Recommended: ‘La Cucina del Capello’ via 4 Novembre 41: good traditional food in a pleasant atmosphere ---

the ‘cucina’ of Enoteca ‘Ca’ de Ven’ at via Corrado Ricci 24: through the arcades of the Piazza de Popolo and it’s on the left, real Italian food in a traditional vaulted room – limited menu but wonderful atmosphere ---

‘La Gardela’ via Ponte Marino 3 is favoured by some but we didn’t find it outstandingly good: it is less expensive than some other restaurants and is very busy in the evenings.

SAN GIMINIANO (Province of Siena, Tuscany): Sosta

not listed in Italian Guide

‘Parking Santa Chiara’, south-west on the P47 road to Volterra. Appears to be open all year. Paying. Not so much a 'sosta', more a cross between a car park and camp site. Showers and other facilities. No shade, mostly level. Deserted when I visited in late September and we didn't stay. Circa 1km. uphill walk to the town. Go look at it, then decide if you wish to stop. We encountered several MHs on the car parks at the entrance to the old town. An alternative is the campsite, which is c.1.5km. out of town but an easy walk. [1998]

Amenities: historic Tuscan hill town – Cafes – Restaurants – shopping - Museums

URBINO (Province of Pesaro and Urbino, Abruzzo) : Sosta

Located at a ‘bluff’ outside the walls at the top of the city. The best route I found was to turn off right at the sharp bend where the main car parks are situated on the approach to the city from Pesaro, then turn left off this road (via Giuseppe di Vittorio) when you reach the next town gate and proceed right and steeply uphill outside the walls on via dei Morti (not through the gate): go around outside the walls and turn left when you can up to the chief upper entrance to the old town at Piazzale Roma. Turn right along the foot of the walls on viale Buozzi, the sosta is at the end among pine trees. It’s easiest to obtain the red Michelin Italia guide: the sosta is where the ‘viewpoint’ sign is shown above the ‘Strada Panoramica’. Avoid Friday night, or leave very early next morning, as the Saturday market occupies the whole of the road and it will be impossible to get out – warning signs are put out. There is a parking area below the 'bluff' on via del Popolo which is almost as good (sloping) and useful for Friday night.

Officially there is a sosta with waste dump and water on the lowest level of the first car park on the approach road, it exists but was found to be unpleasant for an overnight stop. [2001]

Amenities: Cafés – Restaurants – Shops – Enoteca - Museum – Duke Federico’s Palace – the house of Raffaello Sanzi – an ancient fortified city state, it’s worth reading a book on Urbino before visiting.

Recommended: Enoteca on via Raffaello just below Piazzale Roma at the top of the city

‘Trattoria Leone’ opposite the Cathedral near the tourist office ---

in general the cheaper eateries seemed better, we were not taken with 'Vecchia Urbino': the food was good but service seemed over-assiduous and prices too high for the overall experience.

VOLTERRA (Province of Pisa, TUSCANY), Sosta

not listed in Italian Guide, Open all Year

Approaching from North on SS439 from Pisa/Pensacco or Castelfiorentino, follow signs for Camping 'Le Balze'. Turn right off main road at the campsite sign before reaching the town , as if going in to the camping, sosta is on the left just round the corner from the camp site. Water, grey/black waste dump at ground level. Tarmac. No shade. Town Centre c. 500m. up hill (not steep). The adjacent campsite is an alternative place to stay. Remains of the Etruscan walls are beyond the campsite. [1998]

Another sosta is listed for the other side of the town, not explored.

Amenities: scenery – Restaurants - Tuscan hill town - Etruscan remains – Roman remains - Churches – Museums.

Recommended: the ensemble of the Baptistery and Cathedral ---

Trattoria on left of the road up from the sosta towards the main town (Borgo San Giusto).

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