Italy is a sun-soaked haven for campervan drivers, with spectacular scenery, ancient landmarks, picturesque campsites, and all the pizza you can eat! Italy has a long past and a rich culture, and you can visit any of its most famous towns and cities to get a glimpse into its fascinating history.
The capital, Rome, is home to countless millennia-old ruins, museums, and an entirely separate country, Vatican City. Florence is known for its Renaissance art and architecture, and Venice has romantic canals, delicate blown glass, and intriguing passageways. Milan has flair and style, whereas Naples is renowned for its delicious pizza and proximity to the remains of Pompeii.
Italy has 25 breathtaking national parks, each with its unique landscape and natural wonders. Gran Paradiso is home to rare wildlife and offers stunning alpine views, Cinque Terre is a coastal park with beautiful trails connecting five vibrant seaside towns, and Stelvio boasts the highest mountain pass in Italy and cerulean glaciers and lakes. Other notable national parks in Italy include Dolomiti Bellunesi, Pollino, and the Tuscan Archipelago.
From the frosty peaks of the Alps and the sun-washed slopes of the Apennines to the golden beaches and turquoise waters along Italy's neverending coastline, there's always a spectacular backdrop for every stretch of your journey.
For first-time campers, the best all-around option for an Italian vacation is the Intermediate or Budget-friendly campervan. These come equipped with beds, lounges, and often bathrooms and kitchenettes, and they're comfortable to drive along winding Italian roads. If you don't need much space and seek a more rugged and natural experience, go for the compact 4WD Camper. The larger Luxury Class motorhomes have all the luxuries of a home but tend to cost more.
To compare all of the best campervan models from the most trusted rental brands, head to Camp Champ and find the perfect deal for your vacation. Italy is a magnificent country for a campervan road trip; here's why:
Hotels are more expensive than campsites: Hotels, hostels, and AirBnBs all tend to be far more costly than a night in a campsite, especially if you locate a free sosta, or overnight rest stop.
You'll want to have more flexibility: There are so many fascinating attractions in Italy that you'll inevitably wish you could spend an extra day in one location. With a campervan, you're able to adapt plans on the go, giving yourself the freedom to explore.
There are campsites inside the National Parks: Many of Italy's 25 national parks encompass multiple towns and villages, so you can find a place to sleep in the heart of the country's most scenic settings.
Driving is the best way to get around: If you want to visit multiple locations on your trip, the easiest way to reach everything would be by car. Instead of renting a car, get a campervan and turn every drive into an adventure!
Drive your campervan along the sun-soaked roads of the Amalfi Coast and be rewarded with endless panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea. As you go along, you'll find picturesque towns where you can stop for a swim or grab a bite at a beachside bar. Positano is one of these locales, known for its vibrant houses and quaint waterfront cafes. Ravello is a charming hilltop village famed for its beautiful gardens and ancient villas.
The romantic pedestrian streets of Venice contain astonishing landmarks like St. Mark's Basilica, the Doge's Palace, and the Rialto Bridge. To really take in the city, go on a gondola ride through the narrow canals and visit the colorful neighborhoods of Burano and Murano. Don’t forget to sample the local gastronomy, including fresh seafood and cicchetti (small bites). The Lido and other islands in the Venice Lagoon provide beautiful beaches for a seaside dip.
The Italians are known for their loud and colorful parties, and no festivity can outdo the splendor of Carnevale. With origins dating back to early Pagan equinox rituals and modern ties to the Christian Lent, Carnevale takes place in either February or March and is celebrated throughout the country. In Venice, the narrow streets are crowded with masked dancers. In Viareggio, the festival is honored by vibrant floats that move through the center. Even Sicily joins in with a dynamic parade filled with fresh flower floats.
The Dolomites mountain range is a popular destination for skiing and snowboarding in the winter months. Cortina d'Ampezzo is one of the area's most famous ski resorts and for good reason. It has long seasons, great slopes, and a storybook town center with plenty of restaurants and boutiques. Selva Val Gardena is also known for its excellent ski runs, stunning ranges, energetic nightlife and après-ski options.
The sun-soaked region of Tuscany is home to some of the country's most popular delicacies, including the rich Chianti wine. If you have a savory palate, start with Panzanella, a Tuscan salad with tomatoes, onions, and croutons, then move on to Pappardelle al cinghiale, a ribbon pasta cooked with tomatoes, red wine, and wild boar. Those with a sweeter tooth can delight in Ricciarelli di Siena, a soft almond-based cookie from Siena.
The city's historic center, known as the Caruggi, is a maze of narrow streets lined with colorful houses, small shops, and family-run restaurants serving local specialties like pesto focaccia and Tonno alla Genovese. While you're there, don't miss a visit to the Piazza De Ferrari, an impressive square bordered by the Doges Palace, the Palace of the Duke of Galleria, and the Carlo Felice Theater.
In the center of the Tuscan town of Siena lies the Piazza del Campo, a large square with a sandy floor where the Palio di Siena are held. This biannual event features a flag-filled parade and a series of horse races, with each flag and horse representing a different neighboring contrade or rural district. People come from all over Tuscany and the world to see the horses in action, which tends to be in July or August.
One of the most interesting things to do in Italy is to leave it and enter the independent city-state: Vatican City. The historic seat of power of the Holy Pope, barring a few decades in Avignon, Vatican City, is home to Saint Peter's Basilica, the Vatican Museums, and Michelangelo's famous Sistine Chapel. Saint Peter's Square and Basilica are free to enter, but you have to dress appropriately as they are a religious setting.
Hop aboard a ferry and go explore Italy's biggest island, Sicily. The ancient Greek and Roman ruins in Syracuse, Agrigento, and Taormina are some of the island's most popular attractions, as are the stunning beaches of San Vito Lo Capo, Cefalù, and Mondello. Food lovers can indulge in the island's traditional cuisine, including arancini, cannoli, and pasta alla Norma. The bustling markets and lively festivals in Palermo and Catania are also worth a visit, as are the rugged hiking trails of Mount Etna.
Fair Verona is home to the Juliet Balcony, a stone balcony in an intimate courtyard that has become a site of pilgrimage for classic romantics. The historic center is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, including the ancient Arena di Verona amphitheater. To continue the romance, stroll around the manicured Giusti Gardens or cross one of the old bridges over the Adige River.
While it's possible to camp in low-cost rest stops each night, there's no replacement for the home comforts and unbeatable locations offered by these 10 campervan-friendly campsites in Italy:
near Rome: A large, open-air campground featuring a water park, organized recreational activities, and multiple dining options, with electric hookup sites starting from £24 per night. This camp requires you to stay at least 3 nights, but there are so many things to see and do between Rome, The Vatican, the Tyrrhenian Sea, and the camp itself, that it shouldn't be a problem.
near Verona: This city-run campground is located near the shores of Lake Garda, less than a 30-minute drive from Verona. The camp itself is quite basic, but you can find a site with electrical hookups for just £18 per day.
near Catania: Sleep in a Sardinian Paradise on the foothills of famous Mount Etna. This rustic campsite has a swimming pool and a sun deck, plus you can rent e-bikes to travel to the nearby mountain villages. Each £18-a-night spot has an electric hookup and a water faucet.
near Florence: Located on the slope of Fiesole hill, overlooking Florence, this campground has easy access to the historic town and rolling Tuscan views. A shady electric site costs $26 a night, and you can use the restrooms and enjoy the poolside restaurant.
near Taranto: This southern Italian campsite is perched on the rocky shores of the Apulian Sea. A stay in an electric pitch costs $24 per night, including access to a secluded beach, a waterfront bar, and a family-run restaurant.
near Bologna: This laid-back riverside park on the border of Monte Sole Historical Park is close to the medieval city of Bologna. A stay in this campsite costs £19, including electricity, and you can take advantage of the swimming pool, tennis court, and on-site pizzeria.
near Venice: This exclusive camp in the Venice lagoon is a beachside paradise with a refreshment bar and bike rentals, so you can explore the famous Lido and pitches with electricity for $40 per day. You need to take a ferry to reach the island with a campervan, but once you've parked, you can hop on a low-cost boat bus and explore Venice by foot.
near Lake Como: The only thing better than the crystal clear beaches, Alpine views, and terraced snack bar that this campsite offers is the peaceful lakeside pitches for £35 a night, including water and electric hookups.
near Milan: This family-friendly campground to the south of Milan offers shady riverside sites with electric hookups for £24. There's a playground for kids, a swimming pool and a natural beach, and a place to do your laundry.
near Genoa: A natural campsite on the outskirts of Genoa, Villa Doria features a bar and camp store, indoor and outdoor leisure activities like pool and ping pong, and electric hookup pitches for £32 per day.
Wild camping rules are determined by region, but it is generally prohibited in Italy, and fines can be heavy (€100-500). If unsure about a certain region check online or visit an information center.
There are plenty of campsites in Italy starting around €20 ($21 USD) per night
All drivers must have a current and full driver’s license to rent a vehicle.
For foreign licenses, an International Driving Permit is required. In addition, some companies require the driver to have held your license for a certain period of time (usually 1-3 years).