Reading material for those who love the camping life

By: Tone Hasle and Finn Bjurvoll Hansen
Motorhome and Caravan magazine, No. 2 March 2020

Around Europe in a motorhome for a whole year - part 10

Tone and Finn Bjurvoll Hansen have spent a whole year in a motorhome. The trip has been all over Europe, and in each issue of Bobil and Caravan Magasinet they tell about their experiences. Here the story from Italy continues in a pre-Christmas period

Northern Italy in the run-up to Christmas

Sicily was a great motorhome experience, but now it was time to get over to the mainland again. We went back the same way we came, the ferry across the Strait of Messina to the small town of Scilla. Here we took in the same motorhome parking we were on last, and where we planned the further journey. We decided quite quickly to drive over to the east coast of Italy to follow this north. There are many interesting places to visit along this route. The trip from the east to the west coast is only 40 miles, so we took it in a jiffy. The destination was the town of Alberobello which is known for its very special "trulli houses". We picked out a nice motorhome parking in the center, so it is relatively central. The motorhome parking has large nice pitches surrounded by olive trees, just as cozy.

Christmas Opening

Alberobello is a small cozy town divided into two by a main street with squares and shops. A bustling life now before Christmas with preparations for the Christmas opening of the city. It's almost like it was in Norway in the old days. An official opening of Christmas, the Christmas streets are lit, the shop shows the Christmas exhibitions, and a small ice rink has been laid out. Here it is nice to stroll around to take in the good atmosphere, and maybe sit in the sun at some outdoor restaurant for a good lunch.

Old building practice

The special Trulli houses are an old building custom that the Puglia region is known for: Small round houses made of stone with a conical roof. In Alberobello there is a whole district with such Trullis and a walk in the narrow streets among these strange buildings is both interesting and exciting. Many of the Trulli houses were converted into restaurants and shops, but there were actually surprisingly many who also have these strange houses as housing.

City gem

After seeing us full of what was to be seen in Alberobello, it was time to get up the support legs to roll on. The next destination on the trip north was the small town of Lesina. We had not really looked much at what would meet us in Lesina. When we drove into the city it was apparently quite similar to many of the other cities we have been to on our trip here in Italy. After parking the motorhome a little on the outskirts of the city center itself, it was time to take a closer look at the city. It turned out that Lesina was a bit of a gem. The city faces a lagoon / lake. A beautiful beach - or perhaps more of a lagoon promenade - was perfect for a stroll. Along this entire promenade, there are piers and landing sites for these special flat-bottomed boats that are used on the lake.

Lake Lesina

Lago di Lesina is Italy's ninth largest lake, and the second largest in southern Italy. It is separated from the Adriatic by a kind of sandbank. On the sand embankment, trees grow that provide good "binding". Two canals, Acquarotta and Schiapparo, connect the Adriatic Sea outside with the lake, and the fishermen use a kind of guidance system to get saltwater fish into large traps. Lago di Lesina is not deep, at its deepest it is only 1,7 meters. The average depth is only 70 cm, which makes it difficult with e.g. Rod. Therefore, the fish are led into these "passages" which in turn lead into the large intoxicants. An ingenious and fun system. Fishing here in Lago di Lesina is mainly aimed at eels. The shallow lake is therefore the reason why these long narrow flat-bottomed boats are used.

The Blue Lagoon in Pedaso

We only stayed one night in Lesina before driving on in the direction of Pedaso. Here we had found a campsite called Lago Azzuro, ie the blue lagoon. This sounded exciting, and after the experience we had with the lagoon in Lesina, we also had some expectations. Pedaso is a 2,5 hour drive from Lesina, and we rolled into the campsite quite early. Lago Azzuro is located a bit outside the city center, so there is no question of a city walk here. The area is beautiful, as is the blue lagoon.

We visit a country within a country

It was only one night at the blue lagoon in Pedaso, we wanted to visit a place that was approx. 2,5 hours drive further north. San Marino is a republic, located there as a small island surrounded by Italy. We had first picked out a parking space right by the lifts that go up to the old town, but since it was a national holiday and also on Saturday, there were so many motorhomes there that it was completely impossible to find a free space. We had to come up with plan B which turned out to be a much better solution and we ended up at Camping Centro Vacanze San Marino. Here were large pitches and all facilities. The campsite is about 5 km away from the old town, but they offer shuttle bus back and forth for 5 Euro.

Elevator to the Middle Ages

After parking, it was a good idea to take the shuttle bus up to one of the lifts that go up to the old town. It's steep, - very steep here, - so free lifts are a good solution to get people up. There is also a gondola lift here. Well up, it was almost like walking in a wonderland. Medieval castle, narrow streets and alleys, towers with gunfire, churches and beautiful old palaces. Everything was Christmas decorated, candles, glitter, Christmas trees and beautiful decorations everywhere.

A little story about San Marino

San Marino is a small state that has managed to maintain its independence for many hundreds of years. They have not been at war since 1463. Not bad - they have managed to convince everything from Garibaldi, Napoleon, Hitler and Mussolini that it is not wise to occupy this small republic. Yes, because it is a republic and it is governed by 2 elected rulers who both have a veto. Peaceful and fair then. The main task of the Armed Forces and the Guard is to take care of the tourists. The old town is said to have been founded in the year 300 AD and is built on a steep mountain area called Mount Titano, 755 masl At the top are built fortifications with towers with gunfire, and three majestic castles.

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