The south of Italy was not what we expected. Saying that, exactly what we expected is hard to put into words. But packed, sardine campsites, and undesirable beaches was certainly not it.
The idea was to get in a little more beach time before we started heading northwards and ultimately towards home. So with this in mind, we continued on down the coast of South Italy in the Puglia area. The map showed plenty of camping and after our usual stint of driving, we pulled off the motorway at Marina di Ginosa. We saw the campsite sign and followed it .. what we pulled up to was a sight that had a 90% majority of motor homes and static caravans. We have turned up in Italy at the completely wrong time!
As I mentioned in my last post, it was Italy's national holiday and therefore every Mario, Luigi and his mother were on holiday for 2 weeks. From 10 August till 18 August all factories etc close down and Italy retreats … it seemed to this campsite or part of the coast.
We paid for 1 night, thinking if we liked it we would stay for 2, but that changed very quickly after we went to the beach. Lets just say peacocks have nothing on Italian men and their speedos!
From Marina di Ginosa we headed up the motorway past Rome. We did a big stint of driving, we simply wanted to get out of Italy. We had no maps for this part of Italy and were now relying on our very old and very worn Europe map for a general motorway overview. Every services we stopped at did not have maps, it was getting very frustrating! We pulled off the motorway at Caserta to look for a campsite. After an hour of driving, nerves and tempers were fraying and we all just wanted to get out of the car and stop. I suggested we head for a big town and go from there. We ended up in Cassino and found a campsite sign. The campsite was strange … an old lady and, i assume, her grand children were sitting at the entrance. The lady greeted us and chatted away in Italian, I assume telling us to go choose a pitch and she'll bring us our passports. The place was deserted! To say it felt like the twilight zone or something from the movie The Shining would be a good ways to describing the feel of the place. We were THE ONLY people there. We pitched, cooked dinner and quickly went to bed … avoiding ALL contact with the ablutions … eewww!
The following day we headed Florence direction. The day dawned with Cas needing a wee. As age descended the ladder we heard a "Bonjourno!" from a strange Italian man walking through the campsite … that was our queue to leave. Anoter long day driving, as we passed Florence I asked the team if they'd like to stay in Florence or carry on to the coast, which would mean another 2 hours or so in the car. Cassie opted for the coast, Dan didn't mind and so the coast it was. We pulled off the motorway at Lido di Camaiore, the map showed lots of camping and we were bound to find something quickly. This was not the case, after about 30min of driving we finally came across a campsite. we pulled in and enquired about a space, no sorry, full! Another 10 attempts later and we still had nowhere to stay. It was getting late again and we were getting tetchy. One last attempt, thank goodness! They had space. The campsite was another of these static caravan and permanent pitch sights. Not to our taste to be honest.
We headed to the beach to check it out, but what a disappointment. A false bay had been created using boulders. This stopped the sea coming in and out and delivering fresh water from the tide … meaning the water was frothy and dirty. The beaches were also all privatised and the 'free' beaches were tiny strips packed with every Mario, Luigi and Poalo. Not fun. Despite this, we decided to stay two nights and to find a swimming pool tomorrow.
We found a pool and for €4 each, we had a lovely quiet afternoon by the pool. Quiet yes, but the visions we were treated to were something I don't think I will ever forget and is my major memory of Italy - the men walking around in their speedos. Or budgie smugglers as Dan and I nicknamed them. Why!? That is my only question.comments powered by Disqus