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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-05-2019, 16:27 Thread Starter
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Italy - Hints & Tips

Italy: wonderful land, from borders to Sicily.
Big and small towns, each of them plenty of history lasting from Celtic establishments to Etruscan culture, through Roman empire and middle age to Renaissance, etcetera.
Arts, architecture, cathedrals, museums, fine articraft.
Not to mention beaches and an unbeatable sea, especially in the south of the country.
Last but not least best food and good wine (much better than french one, ).

Many Italian motorhomers spend their holidays in the UK. Why so few english over here ?
Let me provide some hints and tips.

How to get there ?

First of all few words about distance.
Milan, first big town after Swiss-Italy border is less than 700 miles away from Dover/Calais.
Not a small distance but less than you might think.
Quiet driving, from Calais it takes less than one day and an half.

Many are the routes that can be followed from the United Kingdom to Italy, the easiest is through Swiss (Basel, Luzern, Gotthard tunnel, Lugano lake, Chiasso border).

Assuming this choice:
Limits and distances are now in chilometers. If you have a satnav, switch it from miles to them.
First of all you will have to cross France (motorways have blue signs).
French motorways are usually very expensive but some of them are free.
You can stay on a free motorway if you follow the Calais-Lille-Namur(B)-Luxembourg(L)-Metz route.
Note: While crossing Luxembourg, refill the tank, cheaper prices in Europe.
At Metz leave the motorway and on normal roads go to Saverne and from there to Strasbourg.
From Strasbourg to Basel (Bâle in French) the highway is again free.

Swiss (like in Italy normal roads have blue signs, motorway green):
- Is your motorhome under 3.5 tons?
At the customs buy the "vignette" (it lasts until January 31 of the following year).
- Is your motorhome over 3.5 tons?
At the customs, buy the annual multi-passage ticket.
Speed limit on motorways: 120km/h.
Turn on lights even during the day.

Left Swiss at Chiasso border you are in Italy where motorways (with few exceptions in the south) are toll roads.
You can pay by cash or credit card.
The most part of toll gates have lanes with an operator at least.
On top of gates an easy to understand sign shows which lanes have it and which don't (only automatic payment).
DON'T USE yellow lanes, they are ONLY for electronic TAG owners.
Note: You could buy one valid for motorways in Italy, France, Spain and Portugal but I would avoid to talk here about it.

Speed limit on motorways: 130km/h.
On motorways with more than two lanes per carriageway, vehicles over 7 meters in length cannot run in the leftmost lane.
On motorways and roads with barriers (concrete or rails) between carriageways turn lights on even during the day.
TUTOR: It's a system to measure and fine speeding.
Not just actual speed but its average between gates too.

Few miles after Chiasso border you will find first toll gate where you must pay around 3 euros.
On the motorway DRIVE STRAIGHT direction Milan.
DON'T EXIT toward Malpensa airport, unique part of italian motorways with payment only by internet within 15 days.
About 20 miles ahead another toll gate, still roughly 3 euros.

Now you are on the country main motorway system.
REMEMBER:
When you enter a motorway you need to get a magnetic ticket.
When you exit you will give it to the operator and pay (no matter if cash or credit card).
System is very reliable but I suggest to ask for receipt.

If of any interest to you other tips and suggestions will follow.


Have nice trips,

Max
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-05-2019, 09:11
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Thanks Max. I tried to visit Italy once and planned going to Venice in out 36' RV towing a car.
The traffic was horrendous and the drivers so aggressive the sign posts confusing. I tried to find a large parking place to stock up with Italian wine and provisions.
We did come across a large layby opposite a row of shops and pulled in. A shopkeeper was watching our antics with interest but as we walked across the road to his shop he just closed and locked the door in our face.!

Thats it I thought and went back to the French civilisation and vowed never to visit Italy again.

Ray.

The FSA licensed a twice convicted fraudster to handle our life´s savings. Guess what? He robbed us of £750,000. http://raynipper.com
Brexit is madness orchestrated by the insane.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-05-2019, 10:44 Thread Starter
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I have been traveling Europe and my country for forty years and have never found such situations.
I'm sorry and apologize for the unpleasant behaviour of my compatriot.
Given the size of your RV (not common over here), the shopkeeper may have confused you for a gypsy.
Which does not excuse his behaviour but could be understandable.

I assure you that you can seldom see such behaviour.
My country is extremely hospitable even to motorhomers.
It'ss very easy to find Dutch, German or Swiss people traveling over here.
Many Scandinavians also begin to visit it.

It will be the habit but I don't find the Italian traffic particularly horrendous nor drivers aggressive.
Perhaps in the deep south but in the north it's comparable to that of France and Germany.
Of course your 36' RV plus car is rather bulky for some of our roads.

Thanks anyway for reporting,

Max
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-05-2019, 11:44
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Thanks Max. It was quite a while ago about 1992 and yes the RV was more of a curiosity. But we only managed to get as far as Sanremo from Monaco.

Ray.

The FSA licensed a twice convicted fraudster to handle our life´s savings. Guess what? He robbed us of £750,000. http://raynipper.com
Brexit is madness orchestrated by the insane.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-05-2019, 13:41
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IMO the most aggressive and impatient drivers in Europe are the Brits! Just go and spend a few months driving around France, Italy, Switzerland etc then come back and hop onto the M25 and M1 or drive through one of our towns and you will see what I mean.

Ive done Northern Italy a few times, mainly the Alps and lakes and never had a problem. Great atmosphere and fantastic people. Mid summer round Lake Maggiore or Orta, just fantastic.
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