Originally Posted by Grath
Now, you Guys have got us thinking of maybe not going as far and spending much of the time in southern Italy and Sicily. It is a long time since we have been to Italy and Kath has never been to the far south.
As we like proper wilding and using Aire's (Sosta,s), what is the up to date information about security and crime. Do you feel comfortable and relaxed?
Obviously, if it doesn't feel right, don't stop there, but do you feel your van is safe while you are sight seeing (I don't mean at large popular tourist attractions)
What about costs, is it expensive, I don't mean eating out in expensive places, but buying provisions and snacks etc.
This is still a fluid situation, and as I have previously said, we have previously tent camped in Greece and Turkey,possibly prior to tourist booms, therefore we don't have to do it again, but it did look attractive.
It comes down to time, we could do say 10 weeks if only Italy, but if we went further we would do about 16 weeks which could be a bit of a rush to see the places properly!
So, back to Italy looks maybe more sensible!
As you imply Grath Italy north and south are two different countries. I think the north you could equate with France security wise although cheaper. I never felt uneasy wilding even in the cities. If you like I will put together some really good places (including one really special place up a hill with a view of central Florence that was outside a monastery and a very short bus ride to the centre, we stayed there 4 nights in total quiet apart from the bells).
I was prepared for crime when I got to Rome and looked up an ASCI site that offered transfers to a station. After visiting though and seen some of the free overnight parking just outside the old walls shown on CC infos. When we go back up I’ll even wild in Rome.
It’s a different story south of Rome. If you imagine entering a different country it will help. First thing you will notice is the rubbish and the driving. On the positive side they generally drive slower, possibly because of the state of the roads and have lower speed limits. Apart from that it is a free for all. Regardless of signage the first to a junction would appear to have right of way. Don’t wait for a gap in the traffic when going into a main road edge out and stop the traffic otherwise those behind you will wear out their horns. Oh and if you want to look local have a phone to your ear at all times.
The people are really happy go lucky and extremely friendly, although you have to approach THEM. Petty crime, pick pockets, car crime etc is a big problem in the BIG cities Bari, Brindisi, Taranto, Bitonto, Naples etc. but by contrast the smaller ones and towns have a naivety about them that immediately reassures you. For instance I called into a private sosta to dump in Alberobella today. It was deserted and I couldn’t find anyone to pay. There were a couple of open sided sheds at the entrance. In one was a TV and the other a laptop for the use of patrons, admittedly they were old, but I was there for more than half an hour and didn’t see a soul. This was 100yds from the centre of quite a large town and it was also used as a carpark.
Don’t worry if your cash card doesn’t work in an ATM. It will work in the 4th or 5th even of the same bank. As far as Sicily is concerned the tolls may not take cash but I have been advised by people here to have plenty of cash as many businesses will only take cash.
Cost wise I have been surprised. I spent last winter in Portugal and the previous one in Spain and would say price wise Italy was on a par with Spain. Diesel however is expensive and the price varies considerably. I called into a motorway services last week to dump at the bourne (free). It was on the “truck” side, I also wanted some LPG. That was on the car side. I backed out on to the slip road flashers going only to find diesel 13cents a litre more expensive on the car side. Prices start at about 1:58 and can go as high as 1:83. BEWARE of cheap diesel. I called at a small garage the other day advertising 1:58, now I know my van pretty well, I’ve had it more than 4 years, I known the tank holds 100 lts max and how many litres are left when the light comes on. The light had just flickered as I pulled onto the fore court. Imagine my surprise when I managed to fit nearly 102 litres in
I now stick to the big chains.
As I said I will compile some of my best wilding spots and PM you with them. If you haven’t heard within a couple of weeks remind me.
editted to add that what has saved us a LOT of money is the fact that ALL govt. run museums and monuments (and that seems to be most of them) will grant free entry to EU citizens over 65 who can prove it with a passport. At 8-13 euros a pop it soon adds up.