After seeing a program on UK TV about trulli houses, being very interested in buildings I hankered to see one. So off to Puglia we went on our 2nd visit to Italy. We stopped at a caravan site just outside Alberobello named Camping dei Trulli, listed in Caravan Club Europe 2. The site was very pleasant all amoungst trees. www.campingdeitrulli.it/
The town of Alberobello was very pleasant with a population of just over 11,000 it is not very big. We visited the trulli village and they were amazing buildings all built with lime stone dry -stone walls and conical roof's. They were built to fiddle the taxes and fool the authorities. As when they were inspected the owners could dismantle the houses in a very short time showing they were not actually lived in need not pay taxes. Many of the trulli's have several conical roof's and rooms, all round, leading off one another. Walking up the narrow streets amoungst these strange little houses and shops was facinating leading to a beautiful trulli church.
While staying here we drove over to the East coast and visited the seaside, walled town of Monopoli which was charming and very pretty.
This is a lovely area very similiar to Tuscany as it is on the border. The Lake is the lake is the largest south of the River Po is 128 km square and is quite shallow at 4-5 mt. deep. No Rivers run in or out of the Lake so level depends on the local rainfall and usage of the villages and farms on the shoreline. There are 3 islands on the lake Maggiore being the largest. You can catch a boat at Passignano and a half day visit is very worthwhile. There is a ruined castle to explore and the village which is famous for lacemaking. There are no cars on the island.
Our Caravan Site was at Passignano named Europa** which takes ACSI Camping Card No 1810 in the Book. We have stopped there 3 times as it is a lovely spot, quiet and right on the shore of the lake. The Toilets and Showers are very clean but basic. There fore why it is only 13 Euro's per night in 2010. Washing machines very good. Small shop at the Office/Reception and basic food served in a small cafe area where WiFi Internet is available at a small charge.
Places of interest you can visit from here are Western side of Tuscany including Arezzo and Cortona. To the East, within 20 miles, is the City of Perugia and a few miles beyond is Assisi I think a wonderful place to visit. If going by car you will find many carparks on your way to the top all have escalators or lifts up into the town at the top. Todi and Gubbio are not far away from Perugia either and worth a visit.
Moving further North is the most beautiful City in Italy, Florence and the countryside around it is lovely too. To explore this are we stopped at a very nice caravan site named:- La Chiocciola*** ACSI Camping Card taken. Site No. 1723. The pitches are quite large and individually hedged with stone sink and water and ehu on site. There is a good little shop and restaurant on site. Site office at entrance gate. We have stopped here twice and could not fault it. At the end of the site you can go out cross the road and there is an excellent, not too expencive, restaurant which is very handy. Toilets, showers etc., excellent too. Very friendly and helpful Reception.
A drive around the Chianti Region is a must you can visit some pretty little villages in between the vast vinyards you can visit too. One vinyard is Castilo di S Donato at Perano which has a very nice cafe/restaurant. Radda is a pretty village worth a visit and walk around.
Florence is a must to visit we travelled there by train from Montevarchi first driving to the station. But as it was market day we had a job in the one way streets finding the station but when we did there is a carpark on the opposite side of the road standing on a hill which was free of charge and undercover so free of the sun. Walking across the road and through a gate and then an underpass we reached the platform and it took about 1 hour to get to the last station in Florence where just outside the station is the City with the City Hop on Hop off Tour Buses leaving from just outside the station every 30 minutes at £16.52 for 24 hour ticket stopping at 19 sites. We decided to walk and have lunch before catching the Bus. It was a wonderful way to see the sights of Florence but being a hot day we found it exhausting. Website:- www.city-discovery.com/florence/tour
This a very interesting city, we travelled there by car, has a population of just over 99,000 and the old town stands 296 metres above sea leavel. We parked in an underground carpark in the new town and walked up to the old town. Having lunch in a restaurant on the main piazza which cost a lot of euro's. But it was nice.
For Venice see our second trip 2005 for site etc., As the weather was thundery and humid the mosquito's were everywhere, even though the site was spraying all along the roads, of the site. As I am allergic to these little beasts we decided to move on up to Austria which we have always found mosquito free.
So we did not visit the lovely city of Venice this time around but have been there in years before caravanning in Europe. It is a lovely City and has to be visited, so much to see and do.
Have visited this area on three occasions and find it very picturesque and plenty to do and places to visit. Have stopped at 2 sites one at Desenzano the other Lazise. Both good sites details:- Camping San Francesco not ACSI but takes Camping Card. If you want to park near to the lake you will have to pay extra. Very nice site with excellent facilities, toilets and showers. Good Restaurant and shop. http://www.campingsanfrancesco.com/ Camping Le Palme at Lazise was the better of the two sites, though no view of lake as the Coachman 520 would not have made it around a tight bend to get down to those pitches. It was very nice where we parked all services on site. Showers, Toilets and Clothes Washing facilities were excellent. Site not as large as San Francesco but had internet room, swimming pool and small restaurant. ACSI card was taken that year but not now unfortunately. http://www.lepalmecamping.it/ I think that Lazise is a much prettier place than Desenzano it is very quaint and much smaller.