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  • Writer's pictureLaura Peters

Camping Italian Style

In April 2023, it was time to plan some offspring tourism. This time, my family and I decided to vacation in Italy in July. I was dubious that Italy would be a good choice. The weather is just so darn hot in most of the country, but my son-in-law, Jan, found an option that persuaded me I could be immersed in Italian culture, wouldn’t need to spend a small fortune, could swim in the Mediterranean and enjoy family time without suffering from the crowds and heat.

Jan found the campground and glamping spot, Camping Viareggio (CV), in the city of Viareggio on the Mediterranean coast 14 miles (23km) northwest of Pisa. I had a few requirements: air conditioning, internet, a real bed, great restaurants nearby and walking distance to a swimmable beach. I almost got it all.

As you can see from the photos, the camp site has a central area for tents and RV’s to set up. It also has two bedroom cabins with kitchens, bathrooms and blessed air conditioning. We booked two cabins next to one another for six nights: one to accommodate my daughter’s family with two small children and the other for me and my two younger daughters.

If you want a very local experience when visiting Europe, staying in a place like CV is the way to go. I think my daughters and I were the only Americans there. My son-in-law and grandchildren were all born in Germany. We met people from France, The Netherlands, Germany, Spain and plenty of Italians who all enjoyed life under the trees at the campsite.

To my delight, CV had a small cafe which made an excellent cappuccino and offered pastries in the morning. It also had lunch selections, but we mostly ate lunch near the beach in one of the fabulous restaurants. Can you get bad food in Italy? I suppose so, but we got lucky and always had excellent meals.

To cool off in the late afternoon we’d take the peaceful fifteen minute walk through a small wooded area to the expansive beach. Bicycles were available to rent at CV. The first few days the water was warm and placid, but a storm at sea turned the waves ferocious to the point I was cautious about going in. When the sea was rough we availed ourselves of the large swimming pool at CV. We had to buy swim caps at the camp store but it was well worth the investment. The kids enjoyed splashing around in a small wading pool too.

My three daughters took a sisters' day in Pisa. I was happy to stay behind with my grandchildren. The idea of walking around in the hot crowded summer streets of a tourist town like Pisa did not appeal to me. While the girls were there, they learned about a Lil Nas X concert later that night. They came back to camp to change into nice clothes then hopped the train again for Pisa. I enjoyed getting the videos of them dancing at the concert.

One day we all took the train to one of the towns that comprise Cinque Terre north of Viareggio, where breezes off the sea keep things comfortable. Yes, there were lots of people, but walking through the narrow, charming streets was thoroughly enjoyable. The restaurant we found easily accommodated our party of five adults and two small children. The meal featured a small bread none of us had eaten before and fantastic house-made pasta dishes.

The only thing CV did not have was strong, reliable internet. This wasn’t essential for me, but I do like to check my email, do Duolingo and play Wordle every day. Internet access was essential for two members of my family, who had some remote work to do even on vacation. They had to go into town to find an internet cafe. Not a big burden or inconvenience, but not what was advertised.

If you want a real Italian immersion experience, be sure to try glamping!


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1 Comment

Lara Weiss
Lara Weiss
Nov 01, 2023

Adding CV to my glamping list! Love the family photos! (And how cool re Lil Nas X!) 🫶

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