Tuesday, 14 July 2015

San Marino and travelling South towards Rome

Italy and San Marino, 16th – 19th May 2015


The view out over the hills in the Chianti region
We started the day with a walk into the village before leaving Greve and heading south through the Chianti region heading for San Marino. The drive through Chianti was very scenic and we decided it would be a good place to come in future on a road trip in a convertible, stopping at the vineyards/wine producers for wine tasting and the nice looking hotels or B&Bs. The Lonely Planet highlighted the area as good for cycling but with the steep and twisty mountain roads we went along we
couldn’t see how for the average person.

When we got into the Republic of San Marino I spotted 4 or 5 of the new MINI John Cooper Works’ (JCW) with racing style numbers on the doors coming the other way so guessed some kind of event was going on. Sure enough further along the road near the centre of San Marino in a car park was a MINI stand with more new JCWs lined up at the front for a new model launch demo event where you could take them for a test drive. There wasn’t space near here to park in the motorhome so we had to carry on to where we were parking for the night. We followed motorhome parking signs to one car park but it was €10 per night so we continued to the location we had GPS for which was in a car park a bit further out where overnight parking is possible and there’s no charge (N43.94083 E12.44226). There were 2 motorhomes already here and more arrived later. As we were low on food stocks and hadn’t managed to do a shop today, we had tuna, pasta and sauce for dinner and watched an episode of Prison Break. Every now and then I heard the sound of a MINI JCW exhaust as they were blasting around the nearby roads.

Two completely matching MINIs!
Our parking spot for the night in San Marino - a few minutes walk from the cable car into the old town

In the morning, as we started to walk towards the centre of San Marino we saw how high it was, and decided we should spend the €4.50 each return to take the Funivia, a cable car/gondola, straight up to the town. We walked around the old streets passing the shops which all sold tourist souvenirs, jewellery or guns and knives! We looked in the Basilica and walked over part of the city walls at the eastern end before heading down to where we’d seen the MINI stand. Literally as we arrived the staff were getting into the row of cars and setting off down the road in them whilst others took the signs down, it seemed an odd time to pack up as it was only 1:30pm. So I missed the chance of a drive in one which was a shame as it would’ve been fun around the twisty San Marino roads. After a bite to eat, sharing a square of margarita pizza and a garlic Piadina (a type of flatbread), we went back in the direction of the Funivia to get back down. We walked through an old railway tunnel that now has a footpath through it and looked at some information boards inside which said it was used in World War II to house families of Italians for shelter.

The view out over San Marino from the cable car

One of the towers at San Marino
(More San Marino pictures at the end of the blog entry)

We spotted a camper service point in another section of the car park as we drove out so emptied our grey water and headed out of San Marino back into Italy. We took the none-toll autostrada and main road route past Rimini and through the coastal town of Fano. There were parked cars lining both sides of the road for several km along a stretch of road that passed the beach, with it being Sunday and nice weather it seems all the locals were at the beach. We called to look at the Sosta at Fano but it was busy and we decided to continue further on to Lago Trasimeno. A parking area in a nice spot on the lakeside amongst trees in Castiglione Del Lago, which was listed in our book as free was now €12 for 24hr, so we looked for an alternative. Driving around we spotted 2 motorhomes in a car park so headed there (N43.13109 E12.04495) and parked up for the night at the same time as a German van arrived too.
The view of the lake from Castiglione Del Lago

The next day we had 2 key jobs, one to find a cash machine as we were down to our last €10, and the other was to do a shop to replenish our low food stocks. We had a cycle into the town via lakeside cycle paths to see the area and successfully got hold of some money. After visiting Lidl to take care of the supplies we set off aiming to get close to Rome and park for free.

To get to Tivoli we hit Rome’s ring road during the evening rush with cars cutting all over across lanes and scooters using the hard shoulder. The Sosta here (N41.95841 E12.80465) was just a large car park that had roads coming into each end, with a scruffy service point that had a car parked half across it! It didn’t seem a particularly good place to stay but it was getting late so we parked up. It was quite noisy at night with cars driving though and some parked playing music but we got to sleep eventually.

The next day, as we weren’t prepared for going into Rome yet we decided we’d move somewhere better, do some planning and move to a campsite in Rome first thing in the morning so we’d only have to be there 2 nights to have 2 days in the city. After visiting the Sosta in Albano Laziale to empty the toilet we drove by a nearby lake to see if there were any suitable overnighting places there but weren’t successful. From there we then headed to the coast and went into Ladispoli, a seaside town, and looked at a couple of the private Sostas. We decided to go back to one that was €6 overnight from 20:00-08:00 and the man on the entrance said we could come back at 6pm. We had a couple of hours until then so parked up on a sidestreet on the edge of town and had a bike ride into the centre. Followed by some reading of the Rome section of Lonely Planet we headed back to the Sosta (N41.95954 E12.05282) which was a pleasant grassy site next to the beach. Jo made us some nice burgers for dinner and we sat out to eat them, then spent the rest of the evening planning for going into Rome the next day.

The Sosta in Ladispoli
Wine, burgers and blue skies - a perfect evening!

- Matt

More San Marino pictures:

The streets in San Marino
Another view out from the top of San Marino

These strange sculptures were all over San Marino - possibly there was some kind of exhibition going on?

The main castle
Taken near the top of the cable cars

No comments :

Post a comment