Andare a Campeggio in Toscana / Camping in Tuscany
We are keeping it local this Summer for our holidays – mainly because most of our savings this year went into our new kitchen (which is AMAZING!! It really has made such a difference to our house that it was worth every cent!- but more about renovating in Italy in a future post)
Luckily for us, we have relatives that live on the coast, and in little over an hour, we can be sitting by the sea.
Emiliano, my husband, is from Cecina, a little coastal town in the Province of Livorno. In 1974 his grandfather, Loris Querci, together with another 5 partners, bought 8 hectares of land that backed onto the beach of Bibbona (the town next to Cecina)and built a ‘Campeggio’ (camping ground) known as ‘Il Campeggio Del Forte’.
The Campeggio boasts a restaurant, bar, fruit & vegetable shop, mini supermarket, huge swimming pool, childrens’ playground and outdoor bocce alley. Security is pretty impressive with a computer that reads your license plate number before opening the gate for entrance. From 1:00-3:30pm cars are not allowed to circulate inside the campground which allows for some peaceful hours after lunch for that well-needed siesta! If you go out in the evening, the gates close at 1opm for all cars so if you are later than 10, you must park your car outside the campground.
Emiliano spent most of his childhood summers in the Campeggio and apart from getting up to lots of mischief, he met some of his dearest friends here. There are people that have been coming here since the campeggio first opened and everytime we visit, it’s like a reunion for Emiliano as he is constantly bumping into old friends.
This week, we have been ‘camping’ here………… or I should say Glam-ping as Emiliano’s Nonna Tina has a very impressive set-up here! Sadly Nonno Loris is no longer with us but at 86 years of age, Nonna Tina is incredibly active and has quite the enviable bungalow with caravan/bedroom, kitchen and even her own bathroom with shower! She has been cooking us the most amazing meals (rabbit in white sauce, roast beef, stuffed zucchinis, frittatas and of course her delicious pasta al ragu) and well, basically waiting on us hand and foot! Nonna zips around the campground on her bicycle as do many people and children here. It is such a great place for kids – Matteo has loved getting up each day and going to either the beach or ‘swibby pool’. He has also had quite the nature education as we have caught frogs and grasshoppers nearly every day.
Our typical day has been getting up around 7am (thanks to Matteo) then after a quick brekky of either cappuccino and brioche or cereal and yogurt, we head to the public beach, 5 mins walk away from the bungalow. At midday, we then come home and enjoy some of Nonna’s delicious pasta, followed by salad, prosciutto, cheese and fruit – you know – a typical light Italian lunch, washed down with some home-made vino and as I type this, I am sipping on a little limoncello, just to help with the digestion of course!
After lunch, Matteo has a little nap and I would be lying if I said that I hadn’t joined him occasionally. In the afternoon, we have usually been going to the pool and Matteo has been impressing us with his attitude to the water since he discovered the benefits of his floaties – he runs and throws himself into the water with no fear whatsoever and even threw a little tantrum when we told him off for wanting to jump in from the higher wall at the deep end of the pool!
I must add that I have also been trying to go for a little run most mornings, trying to get my fitness back to the level it was PB (Pre Matteo!) – although it seems like an unachievable feat at this stage!
Waiting for the little train
Sunflowers turning their heads down
The sun peeping through the pine trees in the Pineta
For running and biking enthusiasts, Cecina is home to an amazing pine forest called the ‘Pineta’ which runs parallel to the beach. It stretches for 5 km and the tracks inside are well shaded at all times of the day from the strong Summer sun. The thick bed of pine-needles provides the softest track for running and they are also lined with signs advising distance from each end just so you know how much further to have to run or how far you have already gone. For horse lovers, there is also a horse-riding track which I can only imagine would offer the most beautiful summer ride ever!
Below is an aerial view of the pineta which gives you an idea of how thick the pine forest is. There are many fitness tips and interesting signs to give you a bit of motivation while exercising but the pineta is also very popular with senior citizens trying to escape the heat and picnic goers who arrive early to reserve their favourite table as you can see in the photos below.
Going to a Campeggio in Italy for the Summer is a great solution if all you really want to do is enjoy the Tuscan countryside and beaches, have children or are on a budget. There are so many to choose from too, from basic to the more luxury for those of you that need more than a tent to sleep in.