Visit Vipiteno, Sarzana and Cinque Terre, and Ventimiglia, by Mouse
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Here we discuss three places that were really only overnight stops, one, Vipiteno, on our way into Italy, and two, Sarzana and Ventimiglia, (locator) on our way out. All three are pretty far off the usual tourist route but were memorable, at least to us. We thought that you might like to know about them.
In a campground in southern Germany we met an Italian family who told us about a campground in a place called Vipiteno, 34 miles south of Innsbruck, Austria, just over the Brenner Pass. The drive itself was spectacular with alpine views left and right. Vipiteno itself was nestled in an alpine valley near the highway. We were told that it was a very beautiful setting. We stopped off in the town, looked around, took some photos and drove on to the campground. Not only was it near the highway, it actually seemed to be part of a rest stop off the highway. Although the campground itself was not very interesting, the setting was as promised. Not only were the alpine vistas extremely pretty but there also were two hillside castles in view. We spent a relaxed day admiring the views and left the next morning for Verona. Our photos are of scenes on the drive to Vipiteno taken through the windshield, of Vipiteno, and the views from the campground.
Sarzana is in Italy's northwest, near Cinque Terre. This was to be just an overnight camping stop on a farm in nearby Sarzana on our way to France. It turned out to be an farm that makes at least part of its living from agritourism, which we knew nothing about until we stopped there. Apparently agritourism exists because there are people who want to visit places that are far from cities where you can be very close to nature, and, especially be able to eat foods that were grown without benefit of chemical insecticides or fertilizer. This farm, the Cascina dei Peri, caters to such people. We had some trouble finding the place, but when we arrived we were assured that we could park there for the night. We were shown the sanitary facilities which were adequate, and were offered an opportunity to have our evening meal with the proprietors, for a modest extra charge of 15 Euros each. It did not take us long to decide to join them. We think that we will always remember this particular meal, which was both very satisfying and simple. There were several other guests and the meal was accompanied by interesting conversation among fellow travelers, some from France and some from Germany. Our letter describes the very nice meal and evening.
We never got to our real objective, Cinque Terre. This is a territory on the Italian Riviera, Italy's northern seacoast where the land curves westward toward Genoa. It consists of five towns which you can visit by train from Genoa or by ferry from La Spezia. You can, but we couldn't, because we could not find a safe place to park the motorhome. And we could not find that because we couldn't find the ferry dock where we would have parked. This, of course, was very unfortunate for us because these towns are quite famous and are known to be extremely beautiful and interesting. There is an article in the New York Times about a 36 hour visit to the towns, and Rick Steves also features them. For now, we can only offer these descriptions. We will try again to visit on our next trip.
When we finally gave up trying we decided to drive on. We saw a campground in Ventimiglia, the last town before you enter France, and decided to stop there. The next morning we walked around, visited an indoor market, deservedly famous here, and a nearby beach, took some photos and left Italy for France. Our letter describes what we did in Ventimiglia.
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