We had been waiting for it a long time, and it finally came on December 22nd. After 5 months in the Pyrenees mountains, sanding, grinding, screwing… Some would say it was time! To do what? To finally hit the road, of course!
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As I said, it was on December 22nd, after having celebrated Christmas early and several times with my family, that we headed to Italy aboard the Lieutenant.
We could have made a few stops on the Côte d’Azur, just to have a trial run in familiar territory, and we were actually supposed to, but that was back when we thought we would be able to leave in September (hahaha…), however adventure called to us, and we ended up spending our first nights in Liguria, in small parking areas where we could almost park with our front wheels in the water. Especially in Bonassola, on the threshold of the Cinque Terre park.
From Santa Margherita on the coast, to Monte Serra on hillside, through the little town of Pietrasanta, our first days were already full of many emotions. For us, for Nel as well, who had already started making heads turn in her bubble backpack. However, as pretty as they may ben those small seaside villages are not the easiest to navigate in terms of road width and parking areas for small trucks… In the end, you go through but you can’t always stop… No big deal, we could enjoy the gorgeous scenery through the Lieutenant’s windows.
These fews days of travel quickly took us to Tuscany, where we started by visiting Florence, which felt like something that had to be done. Although major cities are not our priority, some of them just can’t be ignored. And, we took that opportunity to indulged ourselves with a somewhat excessive Christmas dinner in the Camping Firenze restaurant, just a couple of kilometers from city centre (shuttles available several times a day). To this day, still one of the best-equipped, prettiest, cleanest campgrounds we’ve stayed at… You can find those Human (that’s the company) campgrounds in most major cities, we highly recommend them!
Once we had visited Florence, it was, above everything else, the roads of Tuscany that had been appealing to me for a very long time. And let me tell you, I wasn’t disappointed! From fortified villages to jaw-dropping landscapes, this region is absolutely sublime Florence, with an emphasis on Chianti and Val d’Orcia, just breathtaking.
After a couple of searches on the Internet, we were able to pin-point the farm you see in Gladiator, Terrapille, where you can spend a few nights in the Summer, located right next to the little city of Pienza sitting on a small hill. Side note, Pienza is our abolute favorite so far. This is where we celebrated the start of the new year. Without any kind of reservation, we ended up in a small cocktail bar, the Idyllium. A friendly and welcoming staff, great view from the terrace, blankets included, original and delicious cocktails, all-you-can-eat new year’s buffet for a great atmosphere on top of the city walls, a perfect way to kick off this new year, although we did go back to the van to be with Nel for the countdown. A night we will never forget!
To help you organise your road trip in Tuscany, I drew up a map of our general itinerary… Have a nice trip!
Riva Ligure : Piazza Ughetto – Free Parking without services – no parking on Monday because of the market – view on the sea
Bonassola : Via Ammiraglio Serra – Free Parking only at night – without services – amazing view on the sea
Monte Serra (Buti) : SP 56 ; Coordonnées GPS : lat. 43.7349 long. 10.5599 – Wild spot… amazing view on the valley
Florence : Camping Village Firenze : 28€/nuit (en décembre) – services included ! The campgroung bar restaurant is really nice, design and delicious !
Panzano in Chianti : Via degli Orti – Free Parking without services – beautiful view on Tucany countryside
Volterra : Area Comunale di sosta camper : Viale Dei Filosofi – 10€ + 1€ for electricity
Pienza : Via Mario Mencattelli : Parking 8h/22h : 10€/10h and free at night – no parking on Fridays because of the market – Public toilets nearby
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