Campervanning in Italy: Your Ultimate Guide (Updated 2024)

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Lured to Italy by the romantic visions of Tuscany, ancient Roman ruins, Renaissance architecture, and its famous fine arts, we set off on our campervanning adventure in Italy.

Of course, the promise of a slice (or ten) of authentic pizza, lashings of pasta carbonara, and several scoops of gelato weren’t on our minds at all!

Having explored Italy several times, first with young children and more recently just as a couple, we’ve experienced the diverse joys and challenges these journeys can bring.

Now, we’re gradually road-tripping around the world, learning a thing or two about the process of planning a great road trip.

Join us as we share these insights and the freedom that comes with exploring Italy at your own pace

amalfi-coast
Amalfi Coast ©Lifejourney4two

Page Contents

This Italy Campervan Road Trip Article includes

Italy Motorhome Itinerary: Quick Overview

Summary of places to visit on your Italy road trip,

All are covered in more detail in the post — just click on a place to find it below

venice gondalas
Venice, Italy ©Lifejourney4two

🚐 Looking for a Campervan Rental in Italy?

⭐️ We recommend using Motorhome Republic to find you the best deal – they were great when we travelled Europe for a year.

✍️  Get an Instant quote from Motorhome Republic today

Italy by Campervan Map

Plan your journey with our interactive map of Italy by campervan, designed to guide you through each step

How to Use This Campervanning in Italy Map

To use this map, expand it using the square symbol at the top right. The key is on the left. By clicking each location, you will find extra information. 

Each campervan overnight spot on the map has a web link to Camper Contact to see the facilities available, price, opening times, and useful user reviews on each campsite.

The campervan/motorhome overnight stops are marked with an orange circle with a motorhome icon, and the places we visited are marked with purple icons.

To save the map and use it in Google Maps:

  1. Click the star on the top right in the key
  2. Open Google Maps
  3. Go to the menu on the right-hand side (three horizontal lines)
  4. In the drop-down menu click Your Places
  5. A menu will appear under the blue header section. Click Maps
  6. Click on the saved Italy Road Trip map

Planning Your Italy Campervanning and Motorhome Road Trip

If you’re new to campervanning or motorhoming, explore our Motorhome Tips for Beginners and delve into Essential Campervan Accessories.

Italy offers countless places worth exploring on a road trip. However, you won’t be able to see everything unless you plan on touring Italy for years!

⭐️ Resources Recommendations for Planning a Trip to Italy

Where to Visit on Your Campervan Holiday in Italy

Our Italy itinerary guides you to what you can experience during your campervan trip, helping you plan your own adventure.

Feel free to skip some sights, explore different towns, or adjust the visiting order. The beauty of campervanning is its freedom—our own trip was planned, but a spontaneous detour took us to Croatia!

After Rome, we journeyed to Ancona, catching a ferry to Croatia. After a few months, we detoured back to Venice following our Slovenia road trip. Finally, we returned to Italy, arriving in Bari from beautiful Greece to complete our southern Italy tour.

But planning your motorhome journey isn’t just about choosing your destinations; there are other important aspects to consider.

Shelley and Lars tasting a pasta carbonara
Us, test driving a pasta carbonara, Italy ©Lifejourney4two

Ideas for Your Italy Motorhome and Camper Itinerary

We were in Italy for about a month, but if you are shorter on time, here are some ways to break a campervanning or motorhome itinerary that would fit into a shorter time.

These also give you an idea of the distances and driving times between these Italian cities and towns.

Northern Italy Campervanning Itinerary: Lake Maggiore to Rome

Campervanning in Italy Itinerary 2
Northern Italy Campervanning Route

Embark on a scenic campervan journey through Northern Italy, starting from the tranquil Lake Maggiore, the charm of Portofino, and the stunning landscapes of Cinque Terre. If time allows, include Lake Como and Lake Garda.

Discover the historic cities of Lucca, Florence, and Certaldo before delving into Siena’s rich heritage. Explore the renowned wine town of Montalcino and the historic Orvieto before culminating your adventure in Rome.

  • Total Distance: Approximately 900 km
  • Average Driving Time: 13 hours
  • Suggested Stops: 10

Southern Italy Campervanning Journey: Rome to Palermo

Rome to Taoramina Motorhome Italy itinerary suggestion
15 hours 1100 km

Continue your Italian adventure from Rome to the vibrant streets of Palermo in Sicily. Venture to the iconic Mt. Vesuvius, explore the ancient ruins of Pompeii and enjoy the coastal beauty of Positano and Sorrento.

Experience the unique cave dwellings of Matera and the charming trulli in Alberobello. Finish your journey by exploring the rich culture and history of Sicily with stops in Taormina, Isola Bella, Castelmola, Cavagrande, Modica, Enna, and Palermo.

  • Total Distance: Approximately 1100 km
  • Average Driving Time: 15 hours
  • Suggested Overnight Stops: 8

Essential Preparations for Your Italy Campervanning Adventure

Before diving into all the beautiful places to explore Italy by motorhome, let’s outline some essential planning tips to ensure a smooth journey.

Best Times to Visit Italy in a Motorhome

  • High Season (May to August): Travelling during these months means you’ll experience the best weather and vibrant local culture. However, expect large crowds in popular cities and tourist spots.
  • Shoulder Season (April, September, October): These months offer the sweet spot for campervanning and motorhoming —less crowded than the high season, and you’ll still enjoy pleasant weather.

Choosing Your Motorhome Pickup Location

  • Hiring Locally vs. Internationally: Weigh the benefits of renting a motorhome directly in Italy against picking it up from nearby countries, which might be cheaper. (For us, hiring our motorhome from Germany worked out cheaper.)
  • Motorhome Republic Services: This platform helps you find the best motorhome rental deals based on your travel plans. Due to the recent demand, early booking is advised.

Booking Tips

Book Early: Essential tip given the surge in motorhome travel popularity. Early reservations ensure better rates and availability.

Travel and Medical Insurance

alberobello homes
Alberobello’s unique homes ©Lifejourney4two

A Useful Tool for Your Italy Campervan Trip

Grab this FREE road trip travel planner to help make this trip the best it can be

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    Where Can You Camp When Campervanning and Motorhoming in Italy?

    We used the Camper Contact app (€4.99 a month or more for Pro+) when travelling through Italy to find our campervan overnight spots. They have over 5650 campervan parking and motorhome service areas listed.

    Italy also has lots of ‘Area di Sosta’, which are dedicated motorhome parking areas. Some are free, while others charge a fee for a 24-hour stay. Most of them have facilities for emptying waste water, toilet cassettes, freshwater, and rubbish.

    To help with your planning, we’ve included all of our overnight stops for our Italy Motorhome trip below, with each stop on our interactive map.

    Can I Wild Camp in a Camper or Motorhome in Italy?

    Wild camping is largely prohibited in Italy, particularly in environmentally protected areas like national parks and coastal regions.

    Regional laws vary, and while it’s illegal in many places, some rural areas might allow it with prior permission from local authorities or landowners.

    Consider using designated camping sites that offer the necessary facilities for a comfortable stay to ensure compliance and avoid hefty fines (€100 to €500).

    Additionally, exploring agritourism farms could be a viable alternative, offering a unique experience close to nature while respecting local laws.

    white motorhome parked by trees with ocean in background
    Our campervan parked in San Rocco near Portofino, Italy ©Lifejourney4two

    Campervan Rental in Italy

    We recommend Motorhome Republic because they can search for the best deals from various pick-up points and countries.

    When we used them, they were incredibly helpful, and we saved more money going directly to them rather than to individual rental companies.

    ⭐️ To find a great deal, we recommend requesting a quote from Motorhome Republic.

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    Places to Visit When Motorhoming and Campervanning in Italy

    Our Italian motorhome adventure covers some of the country’s most incredible sights. Here’s our handpicked itinerary, perfect for fellow campervanners seeking an unforgettable journey.

    First up on our list is the serene Lake Maggiore, a must-visit for its breathtaking views and tranquil surroundings.

    1. Lake Maggiore

    blue lake Maggiore with green mountains in the background on our italy by campervan trip
    Lake Maggiore, Italy ©Lifejourney4two

    The first stop on our road trip in Italy was Lake Maggiore in Lombardy, one of the three main lakes in the Italian Lake District and the second largest after Lake Garda. Lake Como is the third main lake in the area.

    I visited Lake Como and Garda many years ago and would definitely recommend a visit there if you have time on your motorhome trip in Italy. You can see on the Map that they fit nicely into an itinerary if you decide to go east towards Venice.

    ⭐️ There are several tours and day trips that operate from Lake Como, the closest to Lake Maggiore, such as a 👣 funicular, walk and boat ride or relax and 🛥 enjoy a private boat tour around the lake.

    lake-maggiore and maccagno
    Maccagno, a pretty town on the shores of Lake Maggiore ©Lifejourney4two

    All of the lakes are beautiful, and there are many pretty towns along with stunning mountain scenery. Lake Como and Lake Guarda are very popular destinations, so be aware that if you are travelling in peak season, they will be busy.

    🚐 Overnight Motorhome Stop: MACCAGNO

    2. Venice

    Venice's main canal
    A busy Venice canal, Italy ©Lifejourney4two

    I doubt Venice needs much of an introduction, but do be mindful that it can be mayhem in summer.

    Our Venice campsite was in the perfect location, quiet and away from the hustle and bustle on the opposite shoreline. But was still within easy access of a passenger ferry across to Venice.

    -a-canal-gondola-stop in Venice
    Typical side canal in Venice ©Lifejourney4two

    While in Venice, we did something I regretted not doing on my previous visit ten years before. We took a ride on a gondola. On my previous visit, I had decided it was too expensive, but I had regretted that decision.

    This time, I made sure it happened.

    We budget carefully for our travels, but we have also learnt that if it is something we have always wanted to see or experience, it is often worth paying, to avoid regret later.

    To be honest, though, the gondolier was a little grumpy, and the experience wasn’t as dreamy and romantic as I had envisioned. Maybe it was the lack of romantic background music or perhaps the distracting clamour of motorboats noisily chugging alongside!

    Even though my fanciful romantic visions didn’t materialise, I’m glad I had the experience, but next time, I’ll book one of the tours below, which sounds much more up my alley.

    💝 If you’d like a romantic gondola ride, you can book a serenaded gondola ride | ⭐️ 5/5

    Here’s what others had to say about these serenaded gondola rides:

    It was from a movie, I booked it with a serenade for my future wife and I alone and right there between the narrow canals and to the sound of the serenade I declared her marriage, … it was like a movie! People applauded from windows and bridges… ” — Traveller from Spain Nov 2022

    Our gondolier and the man who sang were both awesome! Highly recommended!Janet, USA August 2022

    This was the pinnacle of our visit to Venice, the gondola and the maestro singer and guitar player were simply spectacular. This is a MUST during your trip to Venice”Traveller from Mexico July 2022

    Read more reviews or check availability here

    Overnight Motorhome Stop: AL BATEO CAMPSITE

    3. Portofino

    portofino harbour
    Portofino Harbour, Italy ©Lifejourney4two

    The San Rocco Parking overlooks the beautiful Liguria Coastline and the pretty port of Portofino is just around the corner. You can walk there along cobbled lanes and woodland.

    The walk takes about two hours, and just near the end, you get a breathtaking view of Portofino Harbour.

    portofino-from-above
    View of Portofino from above ©Lifejourney4two

    In Portofino, we had our first sampling of Spaghetti Carbonara (a lovely treat as we normally buy our own food and cook in the motorhome). We also learnt that the restaurants in Italy charge a ‘pane e coperto‘  and a ‘Servizio‘ on top of your food bill.

    The coperto is basically a cover charge per person for sitting at the restaurant and using the cutlery, and for the bread the waiter brings. It’s still payable even if you don’t want bread.

    The service charge is also added on top of your food and coperto. For an interesting read on more dos and don’t when eating in Italy check out how not to get ripped off eating in Italy.

    Overnight Motorhome Stop: SAN ROCCO CAMPERVAN PARKING

    🇮🇹 Italy has hundreds of food workshops, cooking classes, farm tours, and the like. So whether you want to try your hand at making 🍝 pasta and tiramisu, or 🍕 pizza and gelato, you’ll find something to whet your appetite and up your culinary skills as you campervan in Italy.

    4. Cinque Terre

    Cinque Terre is a stunning coastal area in Italy, famed for its picturesque villages, rugged cliffs, and vibrant, multicoloured houses that cascade down to the Ligurian Sea.

    cinque-terre-coastline, italy
    Cinque Terre coastline, Italy ©Lifejourney4two

    Getting to Cinque Terre from La Spezia campsite was easy.

    We caught the “S” bus to Stazione Centrale ( Central Train station), and there you can buy your ‘Cinque Terre’ card, which gives you multiple trips on the La Specia to Levanto train line. This means you can get the train to each of the five centuries-old towns in Cinque Terre.

    There is also a coastal path between the towns, and depending on weather conditions and renovations at the time, you can walk between them. We used the train and walking to get between towns to enjoy the full experience.

    You are able to walk the trails for free in the off-season, from 04th November to March 14. Otherwise, a fee will need to be paid. Find out more from the Cinque Terre website.

    Shelley on the well trodden trails of cinque terre
    Shelley on the well-trodden trails of Cinque Terre ©Lifejourney4two

    Just a heads up, the trails do cross some pretty steep terrain, so rest when you need to and make sure you have drinking water with you.

    cinque-terre
    Wonderful views of Vernazza from the Cinque Terre trail ©Lifejourney4two

    There are plenty of interesting and pretty sights along the way, and we managed to stop at most towns we came across for the obligatory gelato.

    Bathing Resort Il Gigante Monterosso Al Mare
    Bathing Resort Il Gigante Monterosso Al Mare and its interesting rock art ©Lifejourney4two

    Below are the five towns of Cinque Terre that are connected by train or can be walked:

    • Monterosso al Mare
    • Vernazza
    • Corniglia
    • Manarola
    • Riomaggiore

    🤎 If you want to visit here easily, you can book a full-day tour to explore the Cinque Terre villages from Florence.

    The towns were beautiful despite their commercialisation, which was to be expected given their popularity. Although it did detract a little from their charm, the stunning views on the walk between the towns easily offset this.

    Locals advised us to avoid Cinque Terre on the weekend, which is an excellent tip for your Italy road trip. 

    cinque-terre views
    Cinque Terre ©Lifejourney4two

    ⛵️ Rather than walking around the towns, you may like to take a boat tour. We like this Cinque Terre Sailing Tour by Speedboat, which has awesome ratings and conveniently departs from La Spezia

    Overnight Motorhome Stop: LA SPEZIA CAMPSITE

    5. Lucca

    Lucca is a beautiful walled city in Tuscany, best enjoyed by walking or cycling, taking advantage of the town’s wide footpaths. Since we had our own bikes, we chose to cycle the 4km perimeter along the 16th—and 17th-century ramparts.

    Shelley riding the ramparts in Lucca, Italy
    Shelley riding the ramparts in Lucca, Italy ©Lifejourney4two

    If you don’t have your own, bikes are available for hire (see below for options).

    This city is also known as the City of a Hundred Churches, the most famous of which is St. Martin Church (San Martino) in the old city centre. We visited several churches in Lucca and were amazed at the sheer elegance of the structures.

    st.martin-church,-Lucca
    St.Martin church, Lucca ©Lifejourney4two

    Some Things to do in Lucca include:

    entry-to-the-walled-town-of-Lucca through Porta San Pietro gateway
    Porta San Pietro, southern and one of the oldest gateways into Lucca ©Lifejourney4two

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      Overnight Motorhome Stop: LUCCA PARKING

      6. Florence

      Florence was our favourite large city while campervanning in Italy. The ambience was upbeat, and the setting and beauty matched everything we had heard and seen of this renowned city.

      That itself speaks volumes for Florence because in general, I am not a lover of cities.

      Shelley in Florence, Itlaly
      Shelley in Florence, Italy ©Lifejourney4two

      Our first stop was the Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore — a huge cathedral that dominates Florence with its enormous iconic red dome. Beside it is the Campanile Bell Tower, with a 444-step climb to the top.

      Duomo-Santa-Maria-del-Fiore-cathedral-Florence
      The magnificent Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral, Florence ©Lifejourney4two

      Although you’re likely to be a little breathless, the views from the top are fabulous. 

      views-over-Florence-from-Dumoa-cathedral,-Florence
      Views over Florence from Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral ©Lifejourney4two

      Another famous Florence landmark that is not to be missed is the Ponte Vecchio medieval stone bridge. This now pedestrian-only bridge is lined with jewellers and goldsmiths, with butchers having been banned way back in 1565 A.D.

      It is a very popular bridge, and when we visited, it was wall-to-wall with people bumping and pushing their way past us. Mind you, our arrival time in the middle of the day was likely the culprit here.

      ponte-vecchio-and-many-bridges
      Ponte Vecchio and Florence’s more recently built bridges in the background ©Lifejourney4two

      Whilst in Florence, why not wander the magnificent and lavish 111-acre Boboli Renaissance gardens? These symmetrically designed gardens date back to the 16th century, typify Italian landscape styling, and certainly warrant at least a few hours of your time.

      boboli gardens, Florence
      Boboli Gardens, Florence ©Lifejourney4two

      We spent two days exploring Florence but could have easily spent more time there.

      These are a few of the Things to do in Florence we’d recommend:

      • 💍 Visit the famous Ponte Vecchio and its jewellery shops – the bridge makes for a great photo opportunity.
      • 👨‍🎨 Uffizi Gallery – it houses some of the greatest Renaissance art – Book a guided tour
      • 🔭 Museo Galileo to get your fix on clocks, microscopes telescopes, thermometers and terrestrial and celestial globes galore.
      • 🌹 And my favourite – Boboli Gardens. Full of statues, sculptures, fountains, several rose gardens and a terrace with spectacular views across the surrounding Tuscan landscape.

      The Florence (Firenze) Campervan parking is only about 1km from the centre of Florence but is not within the ZTL Driving Zone. It’s, therefore, the perfect place to park and walk into Florence.

      Us in a motorhome in Florence, Italy
      That’s us, second from the left at Firenze parking ©Lifejourney4two

      Overnight Motorhome Stop: FLORENCE AREE DI SOSTA

      7. Certaldo

      About 35km from Florence, this small, photogenic, traditional hilltop Tuscan town has gothic 14th-century arches marking its entrance. Actually, if you look around the town, you will see many interesting and different-styled arches.

      certaldo arch
      Just one of Certaldo many interesting arches ©Lifejourney4two

      At the end of the main street is an impressive Palazzo del Pretorio.

      This palace is decorated with many terracotta and stone coats of arms representing the vicariate families that ruled until the late 18th century. You can see the building from the road.

      Palazzo-del-Pretorio,-certaldo
      Palazzo del Pretorio, Certaldo ©Lifejourney4two

      Overnight Motorhome Stop: CERTALDO 

      8. Siena

      We’d heard that Siena was a spectacular medieval town so our expectations were high before we arrived.

      However, even though Siena is a UNESCO World Heritage town, its main square, Piazza del Campo, failed to impress. Perhaps we didn’t see it in its best light, but it was full of tourists, and we found it drab and uninteresting.

      In our opinion, there are plenty of far nicer hilltop Tuscan towns to visit. You may feel differently, though, as many tourists travel here and sing Siena’s praises.

      The one thing that impressed us the most was Siena’s Cathedral and its façade, which was completed in 1380. 

      Siena cathedral
      Siena Cathedral, Italy ©Lifejourney4two

      🥂 TOUR: If you don’t want to stop off in Siena but still want to explore the gems of Tuscany- you might like the full-day tour from Florence, which takes you to Siena, San Gimignano, and Pisa — with a Tuscan lunch served with local wines.

      Overnight Motorhome Stop: SIENA AREA DI SOSTA

      9. Montalcino

      Continuing your Italy road trip, this drive to Montalcino takes you through gorgeous Tuscan scenery. The picturesque town of Montalcino is known for its Brunello di Montalcino wine.

      Unfortunately, as with many of Italy’s pretty, well-known towns, it is quite touristic.

      If you are a wine lover, though, there are plenty of wine cellars to sample local wines and a wander around the medieval, cobbled streets transport you back to medieval times. 

      Top Montalcino Tour: Guided winery tour and Gourmet Testing |⭐️ 4.7/5 | ⏰ 2.5 hours

      The views across the Val d’Orcia are magnificent, and you can certainly see why Montalcino and the surrounding area are listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites.  

      montalcino, italy
      Montalcino, Italy ©Lifejourney4two

      Overnight Motorhome Stop: MONTALCINO CAMPER STOP

      10. Orvieto

      Orvieto is another hilltop town, this time in Umbria, with the iconic Cyprus trees dotted around the classic landscape.

      There is a large car park at the foot of the hill in Orvieto, and access to the town is via an elevator that takes you up to the old town on the hilltop.

      Certainly, the showpiece of Orvieto is its Orvieto Cathedral. This Gothic masterpiece took nearly 300 years to build and is truly a work of art.

      orvieto cathedral, italy
      Orvieto Cathedral, Italy ©Lifejourney4two

      👣 Book an Orvieto Private Walking Tour with a local | ⭐️ 4.8/5 | ⏰ 2 hours | Book Here

      11. Rome

      Rome is often on an Italian itinerary. If you are travelling there in a motorhome, we recommend avoiding driving into the city and finding a campsite on the outskirts.

      We found a camper stop, Rome LGP campsite, only 5km from the centre of Rome, which was quiet and grassed.

      Getting to Rome from the campsite was easy. You can take a tram (near to the campsite), to the train station and then take the metro to the Vatican or whichever stop you want to explore first.

      We booked our entrance ticket to the Vatican online to save time queuing. As it was nearing the end of May, the tourist season was already well underway.

      crowds at Basilica in Rome, Italy
      Crowds at the Basilica in Rome, Italy ©Lifejourney4two

      Once near the Vatican, we were stopped by several very persistent hawkers trying to get us to upgrade our tickets to a guided tour, which we didn’t want.

      The experience of walking shoulder to shoulder through the museum with groups of guided tours wasn’t exactly pleasurable.

      The experience, especially in the Sistine Chapel, wasn’t at all how we had envisaged our visit. Hundreds of visitors were packed into the chapel while loudspeakers blared out the rule that it was forbidden to take photos.

      hall going to sistine-chapel,-italy
      Inside the Vatican, Rome ©Lifejourney4two
      -st-peter's-basilica,-Rome
      St. Peter’s Basilica, St Peter’s Square, Rome ©Lifejourney4two

      To be honest, it was a relief to leave and to catch a breath of fresh air as we headed to St. Peter’s Square. All the while, hawkers pestered us, and our romanticised image of Rome diminished with each step.

      The Spanish Steps did little to save the day, but the Trevi Fountain did wow and amaze, allowing Rome to recoup a small sliver of its reputation in our eyes.

      shelley at Trevi fountain, Rome
      Shelley at a busy Trevi fountain, Rome ©Lifejourney4two

      If you want to avoid the queues at the Colosseum, consider buying a skip-the-line ticket and guided tour of the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill.  

      We suggest visiting this renowned city outside peak tourist season to fully enjoy all it has to offer because there are many beautiful reasons to visit Rome.

      [It was at this point in our campervan Italy road trip that we left Italy and headed to Croatia and Bosnia – coming back to Italy to continue our Campervanning Italy trip in the winter in early January.] 

      Time saver options in Rome

      Overnight Motorhome Stop: ROME LGP CAMPSITE

      12. Mount Vesuvius

      Naples is another place often high on an itinerary wish list while on an Italy road trip.  

      We arrived in the city excitedly, with planned stops at Mt Vesuvius and Pompeii. Fire and brimstone lay ahead. Visiting the top of Mt Vesuvius, 1280m above the Bay of Naples, had been on our bucket list for some time.

      path-to-Mt-Vesuvius-crater
      Path to Mt.Vesuvius crater ©Lifejourney4two

      Even though the volcano last erupted in 1944, it is still considered an active volcano. If you visit in winter, factor in that it is likely to be very cold at that altitude — even if it is warm in the bay below.

      We hadn’t considered that, and we were freezing up there.

      We had envisaged lava spurts, bubbling mud and drifts of sulphurous fumes.

      However, we soon saw that we had none of that. It was a dry, inactive crater, and the closest thing to sulphurous fumes were the low clouds hovering in and out of it.

      Nevertheless, it was still impressive, with a diameter of 700m and a depth of 200m.

      Mt-Vesuvius-crater-lip
      At the Mt Vesuvius crater lip – it is still considered an active volcano ©Lifejourney4two

      Getting to Mount Vesuvius

      We decided to take public transport to Mount Vesuvius because navigating the narrow, windy road in an 8-metre motorhome isn’t easy.

      We left the camper at Estatico Campsite and walked 15 minutes to the Portici Bellavista train stop. There, we caught the Circumvesuviana train to Ercolano Scavi, a couple of euros per person, one-way.

      On arrival at Ercolano Scavi, look for the Travel kiosk to buy tickets for the bus and volcano entrance.

      The bus trip from here took about 45 minutes to arrive at Mount Vesuvius.

      ⭐️ If you want to make your trip even easier, arrange to be picked up and dropped off and enjoy this combined Pompeii Ruins & Mount Vesuvius Day Tour.

      at-Mt-Vesuvius, italy
      At the crater lip; freezing cold despite the smiles ©Lifejourney4two

      Overnight Motorhome Stop: ESTATICO CAMPSITE 

      13. Pompeii

      The next stop on this Italian road trip was Pompeii. Driving south from Naples towards ancient Pompeii, we found a camper stop at Camping Spartacus. It was perfectly situated right opposite the ruins.

      After locking up the campervan, we were at the ruin entrance within a few minutes.

      We walked through Pompeii, having it more or less to ourselves, devoid of tourists as it was January.

      If you want to learn more, you can book a two-hour small group tour with an archeologist.

      Body that was found in the pompeii ruins
      The cast of a body found in the Pompeii ruins ©Lifejourney4two

      In AD79, after the eruption of Mt Vesuvius, the town of Pompei was buried, and the remaining inhabitants perished under tonnes of ash and mud (4 to 6 metres deep).

      Most of the town’s inhabitants (estimated at 18,000 people) had already fled at the first sign of eruption, leaving about 2000 people still in Pompeii when Mount Vesuvius blanketed it with ash.

      The House of the Vettii in Pompeii, known for its first-century frescoes, has recently reopened after two decades of restoration work.

      Additionally, excavations in Pompeii’s Regio IX section in 2023 uncovered various artefacts, including jewellery, human remains, and a fresco depicting a still-life scene.

      The latest Mythical Greek figures, such as Helen of Troy, have been found on the walls of a large banqueting hall, and a commercially run bakery has been discovered.

      pompeii-mosaics
      Pompeii building mosaics ©Lifejourney4two

      These recent finds and new direct train lines from Rome have helped Pompeii to become one of National Geographic’s top 30 exciting destinations recommendations in 2024.

       After walking around this ruined city, you are left with a real sense of what life must have been like in early Roman times. Ancient Pompeii ranks as one of the must-see places in Italy; visiting here is a remarkable and memorable experience.

      pompeii-stone road
      Typical stone road in Pompeii ©Lifejourney4two

      ⭐️ If you are looking for more things to do in and around Pompeii, such as a horse ride through the Mt. Vesuvius National Park vineyards, and a winery lunch, then check out the Pompeii tours and tickets on Viator.

      Overnight Motorhome Stop: Pompeii > SPARTACUS CAMPING SITE

      14. Positano

      shelley-on-Positano-beach
      Walking down Positano’s Marina Grande Beach looking back to Positano ©Lifejourney4two

      When we were in Positano, driving motorhomes on the Amalfi Coast was illegal until after 10 pm at night. The roads are just too narrow and winding. Therefore, only experienced licensed bus drivers can take this route.

      Therefore, we left the campervan at Spartacus Camping in Pompei and took a train from Pompeii’s Savi-Villa dei Misteri station south to Sorrento’s Stazione Ferroviaria di Sorrento station (on the Circumvesuviana route).

      views-of-beautiful-Positano
      Beautiful Positano ©Lifejourney4two

      Once at Sorrento, at a kiosk outside the train station, we bought two all-day return Sorrento-Positano-Amalfi bus tickets.

      The bus ride to Positano was nothing short of spectacular. Make sure you get the window seats closest to the coastline. The winding roads offered magnificent views of the coast.

      shelley-at-Positano
      A colourful Positano ©Lifejourney4two

      The Amalfi Coast is one of the road trip routes we recommend. We recommend taking a tour or public transport, like we did, rather than driving yourself. Check out more about this route and more of our favourite European Road Trip Routes here.

      The Amalfi Coast bus drivers are true professionals — shaving the stone walls at the turns with just centimetres to spare was no mean feat.

      Although we could have bussed all the way to Amalfi, we decided to break the journey at Positano and enjoy the town while the sun was out. The bus dropped us at a stop on the main road above the town, also the return pick-up point.

      To save yourself hassle you might like to explore the Amalfi Coast with a tour instead. These are the ones that get the best reviews:

      Overnight Motorhome Stop: Pompeii > SPARTACUS CAMPING SITE

      15. Sorrento

      You can continue on to Amalfi from Positano, but we returned to Sorrento. The return bus trip provided breathtaking views of the coastline from a different perspective, and again, it was just amazing.

      Disembarking at Sorrento, we walked through to the ‘old town’ along the pedestrian-only access walkways. Just be aware that you do get to share these with the odd motorbike zipping alongside. Sorrento’s old town did have that ‘old town’ vibe to it, with an expected touch of Sorrento chic. 

      Our wanderings took us past the Queens Chips Amsterdam, and with mouths watering, we parted with a handful of euros in exchange for chips and curry sauce. The perfect sustenance for a cold afternoon.

      sorrento limoncello
      Sorrento limoncello ©Lifejourney4two

      We also sampled some free Limoncello and Meloncello, both of which were tasty and packed a pretty punch.

      Things to do in Sorrento

      As evening was fast approaching, we returned to the Stazione Ferroviaria di Sorrento train station and headed towards Pompeii.

      Within the hour, we were back in the campervan, reliving the fantastic day spent along the picturesque Amalfi coast. 

      It was also good to leave navigating the narrow winding streets to the experts and to have a break from driving the motorhome. We would highly recommend not driving a motorhome on this part of your Italy campervan road trip.

      It’s much more relaxing to appreciate the views when you aren’t worried about heading off the side of a cliff

      Overnight Motorhome Stop: Pompeii > SPARTACUS CAMPING SITE

      16. Matera

      Matera and its network of caves and Alberobello and its unique trulli were two of our favourite Italian towns we visited while motorhoming in Italy.

      Matera is a UNESCO World Heritage site built on the side of the vast Matera Gravine. The old town is full of ancient Sassi (caves) built into the side of the vast Matera Gravine.

      It is an incredibly interesting city and one that is sure to leave a lasting impression.

      Things to do in Matera

      Matera, Italy
      Matera, Italy ©Lifejourney4two

      Overnight Motorhome Stop: MATERA CAMPSITE

      17. Alberobello

      Alberobello, just an hour or so drive from Matera, is another town not to be missed on your Italy road trip.

      If Matera leaves you with a sombre feel, then Alberobello will lift you with its enchanting and unique Alberobello Trulli.

      These tiny dwellings, with their cone-shaped roofs, look like something straight out of a fairytale.

      Alborello-trulli huts
      Alberobello Trulli houses ©Lifejourney4two

      Things to do in Alberobello

      alberobello-trulli-huts
      Trulli rooftops in Aberobello, Italy ©Lifejourney4two

      Overnight Motorhome Stop: ALBEROBELLO CAMPSITE

      18 . Sicily

      The final stop on our campervanning in Italy road trip was the island of Sicily, just off the ‘toe’ of Southern Italy. 

      We were there for a week and visited a wide variety of places, with some perfect for hiking and others for soaking up the Sicilian atmosphere.

      Road Trip Sicily Overview

      Sicily-road-trip_Isola-Taormina-view of town and ocean

      18. Taormina: This picturesque town, with its ancient Greek theatre and stunning views of Mount Etna, captivated us with its blend of history and natural beauty. Walking through its bustling streets filled with artisan shops was like stepping back in time

      Sicily-road-trip_Isola-Bella

      19. Isola Bella: Known as the ‘Pearl of the Ionian Sea,’ this small island enchanted us with its lush greenery and crystal-clear waters.

      Sicily-road-trip_Castelmola

      20. Castelmola: A local unexpectedly eased our steep climb to Castelmola by offering us a lift, making the journey as memorable as the destination. From its heights, we admired sweeping views of Taormina and the volcanic landscapes of Etna—a perfect blend of natural beauty and local hospitality.

      shelley sat on rocks that look like steps Sicily-road-trip_Cavagrande

      21. Cavagrande: The hike through Cavagrande was invigorating with its stunning canyon and river pools—definitely a highlight for nature lovers.

      Sicily Modica

      22. Modica: We didn’t actually stop in Modica, as navigating our motorhome through its narrow, busy streets proved too challenging. It’s renowned for its Baroque architecture and, famously, its unique Aztec-inspired chocolate, which we unfortunately missed out on exploring this time around

      Sicily-road-trip_Enna

      23. Enna: Perched atop a hill, Enna offers stunning views over Sicily. We walked to the Rocca di Cerere viewpoint and explored the Cathedral of Enna and its hidden treasures within the Alessi Museum. The morning fog added a mystical feel to this ancient city.

      Sicily-road-trip_Palermo_

      24. Palermo: Palermo, vibrant and steeped in history, has transformed from its troubled past. The city’s highlights include the eerie Capuchin Catacombs, the majestic Palermo Cathedral, and the lively Corso Vittorio Emanuele. The rejuvenated La Cala marina, once neglected, now displays luxurious yachts, symbolizing Palermo’s regeneration.

      👉 For full details of each stop, head to our Sicily Campervan Road Trip Post here.

      Driving to Italy in a Motorhome

      If you are driving to Italy in a motorhome or campervan and arriving by road, then the main routes into Italy are:

      Driving to Italy from France

      • E80 along the Gulf of Genoa,
      • Fréjus Tunnel (the E70) towards Turin,
      • Mont-Blanc Tunnel between Chamonix and Courmayeur/Aosta Valley

      Driving to Italy from Switzerland

      • E27 via the Great St Bernard Tunnel
      • E62 (Brin to Lake Maggiore),
      • E35, via the San Gottardo Pass
      • E43 towards Lugano

      Driving to Italy from Austria

      • E45 via the Brenner Pass
      • E55 from Villach to Venice

      Driving to Italy from Slovenia

      • E751 towards Trieste

      If you are arriving by car ferry, you may arrive at Ancona, Bari, Brindisi or Venice on the east coast of Italy or Genoa, Savona, Civitavecchia (Rome), Napoli, and Salerno on the North and Western coasts.

      As mentioned, we began our motorhome trip in Germany – as that was the cheapest place for us to hire the motorhome – and drove into Italy from Switzerland via the E43 towards Lugano.

      The views on the driving route from Switzerland to Italy
      The views on the driving route from Switzerland to Italy ©Lifejourney4two

      Driving Tips for Campervanning and Motorhoming in Italy

      Here are some practical tips to help you navigate the roads of Italy safely and efficiently in your campervan or motorhome:

      • Driving Side: In Italy, traffic moves on the right-hand side of the road.
      • Seatbelt Usage: Seatbelts are mandatory for all occupants in the vehicle.
      • Essential Documents: Keep these documents readily available:
        • Driver’s licence (No international driver’s licence required for EU licence holders)
        • Vehicle insurance
        • Vehicle registration document
        • Passport
      • Onboard Equipment: Ensure these items are in your vehicle:
        • Reflective Vest — Required when exiting the vehicle due to an accident or breakdown.
        • Warning Triangle — Used to alert oncoming traffic in the event of an emergency.
      • Speed Limits: Follow these speed limits unless signposted otherwise:
      • 130 km/h (80 mph) on motorways
      • 110 km/h (68 mph) on major out-of-town roads
      • 90 km/h (56 mph) on minor out-of-town roads
      • 50 km/h (31 mph) in urban areas
      • Reduced limits during adverse weather conditions
      • For camper vans over 3.5 tonnes and under 12 tonnes:
        • 50 km/h (31 mph) in urban areas
        • 80 km/h (50 mph) on both minor and major out-of-town roads
        • 100 km/h (62 mph) on motorways
      • Tolls: Most motorways (autostrada) are toll roads. Collect a ticket when entering and pay the toll when exiting, based on the distance traveled. Payment can be made by cash, credit card, or electronic tag.
      • Limited Traffic Zones (ZTL): Be aware of ZTLs in cities like Rome and Florence, which restrict traffic to protect historical centres. Cameras monitor these zones, and violations result in fines. Note that all rented vehicles cannot enter the zones regardless of the timing shown on the signs.
      • Dipped Headlights: Dipped headlights must be used on two-lane motorways.
      • Use of Horn: When driving through towns and villages, the horn may be sounded only in the event of an emergency.
      • Right of Way: Buses, trams, and trains have the right of way.
      • Avoiding Tolls on Motorways: The main motorways have tolls. You can program your navigator to avoid tolls.
      • Emergency Numbers: Keep these important numbers handy:
        • Police: 113
        • Fire Brigade: 115
        • Ambulance: 118
      • Further Information: For more detailed information, check out Italy’s Highway Code.
      turquoise windy river in amongst high verdant green mountains
      Views  near the town of Marsaglia, Province of Piacenza, on our way to La Spezia Campsite near Cinque Terre ©Lifejourney4two

      Campervanning in Italy… That’s a Wrap

      Your campervanning in Italy road trip will take you through stunning scenery and tantalising hilltop towns. It will offer plenty of opportunities for delving deep into Italy’s historical past and admiring the famed artistic work of its artisans.

      This is also a useful guide to help you plan your motorhome road trip to Italy. Please contact us or if you have any questions or any further suggestions on taking a campervan trip in this diverse and beautiful country.

      Do you have a favourite destination in Italy?  We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences — drop a comment below.

      READ MORE: For road trip inspiration and for a fun read, take a look at our post on Road Trip Quotes.

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        For a more thorough list, visit our Travel Resources page here.

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        Shelley

        Shelley, a former primary school teacher with a law degree, and her husband Lars co-own Lifejourney4two. Their adventure began in Perth, Australia, and has since taken them through Europe and Africa in motorhomes and bush campers. Shelley's travel guides combine practical advice with engaging stories, mirroring their shift from 'One Day' to 'Day One'. Together, they aim to inspire others to embark on their own travel dreams.

        2 thoughts on “Campervanning in Italy: Your Ultimate Guide (Updated 2024)”

        1. Here in the States we free camp in our Rialta motorhome. We call it boondocking. Just returned from 10 week trip. Payed for camping site 4 nights (in choice locations). We are planing motorhome travel in Northern Italy Mid Sept to Mid Nov. in a small (17’+/_) camper van. This is an attempt to have flexibility in timing and locations and hopefully save money on accommodations. Question: will it be as expensive to park near cities (Milan, Genoa, Florence, etc.) as it would be to find a room? Is it safe to leave the vehicle in the parking places while going to sightsee?
          We have a nice driveway and we welcome boondockers from all over to free camp. Must be under 24’ long. We’re about 30 miles south of Tucson and 40 miles north of the Mexican border. Your always welcome when we’re here along with info on motorhome camping in the USA.

          Reply
          • Hi Pam, I think you’ll find it’ll be a lot cheaper to park near the cities than to find a room. Have a look at Camper Contact here which will give you an idea of prices in the campsites near the cities you mention – Camper Contact Italy

            It will be safer to leave the camper at a campsite rather than on the road parking – we didn’t have any issues in the whole year we travelled in Europe – we also had travel insurance just in case 🙂
            We will definitely keep you in mind once we get to the US x
            Have a fabulous time in Northern Italy later this year and lets us know how you go and your favourite sights.

            Reply

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