Spring is in the air.
Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Let the fresh air rush in through your nostrils. Feel the sun on your skin.
The season when the days get longer is finally here! The flowers are back, and so is your unstoppable desire to travel, explore and discover new places. It’s time to plan a few days away, a picnic in nature and, why not, a few long weekends on the trail of mouth-watering food.
So, what are you waiting for?
Here are three unmissable itineraries for your next springtime trip aboard your Ducato base motorhome!
Itinerary 1 - Trip to the lakes
The mild springtime climate that brings us extraordinary flowers and fairytale-like gardens is also the best time to treat yourself to a weekend exploring Italy’s most famous lakes. The area’s amazing artistic villages and unspoilt nature will give you a vast variety of options for a weekend of relaxation and culture.
Our itinerary leaves from Riva del Garda, the famous town directly overlooking Lake Garda and located between Mount Rocchetta, to the west and Mount Baldo, to the east. As well as seeing the Chiesa dell’Inviolata, Piazza 3 Novembre and Palazzo Pretorio, it’s definitely worth taking the Sentiero del Ponale which, thanks to its position high above the lake, offers a breathtaking view.
If you decide to stay a few days longer with your Ducato base motorhome, we recommend organising a short walk from Piazza delle Erbe to the Church of Santa Barbara, built in 1935. On the way you’ll pass the Bastione, a Venetian fort erected between 1507 and 1508.
From Riva del Garda we’ll head towards Lake Valvestino, then on to Lake Idro. Heading further down towards the Franciacortaarea, near Brescia, you can visit theOlivetan Abbey of St Nicholas in Rodengo-Saiano, a famous religious complex established around the mid-11th century and known for its great artistic and spiritual prestige.
Going back along the route, you’ll come to Lake Iseo. Then, from the medieval town of Iseo you can reach Mount Isola by boat, one of the largest islands of the Italian lakes.
Next, driving towards Desenzano and continuing on the western shore of Lake Garda, you’ll come to Sirmione, a famous spa town where you can stop for some well-deserved relaxation and visit its Scaligera Castle, grottoes and majestic villa.
Itinerary 2 – A weekend in an Impressionist painting
If it’s always been your dream to jump into a painting by Monet and run through a carpet of bright red poppy fields, this is the perfect itinerary for you and your Ducato base motorhome. In the middle of the Monti Sibillini National Park you’ll find Castelluccio in Norcia, a village well-known for its tasty lentils, grown in the upper plateau. However, not many people know that the unique scenery offered by the area from May to the beginning of July is actually thanks to the cultivation of this legume: in that period, the fields become a real eclectic colour palette, making the upper plateau even more mesmerising and wonderful.
To get to Castelluccio and discover the Sibillini mountains at the same time, we recommend following part of the trail identified by the Monti Sibillini National Park as “La Grande Via Del Parco”.
Setting off from Amandola, you’ll be able to cross the Piceno hills located under the great Sibillini mountains, passing Mount Sibilla and going as far as Mount Vettore, the highest peak of the range. If you cross this section of the Park, you must stop in Montemonaco and visit the Grotta della Sibilla, a cave located at an altitude of 2,150 msl. The legend of the Sybil of the Appennines has it thatthis cave was the entrance point to the underground kingdom of Queen Sibylla, a priestess who knew how to predict the future, but also how to seduce and bewitch any man.
Montefortino and Montegallo are just two of the different villages you’ll encounter along this section. These villages rich in history, the locations of meeting between political and religious figures, were wrecked by the terrible earthquake of 2016, but still offer many fantastic views and unforgettable experiences.
As the penultimate stop on the tour, we propose Arquata del Tronto, a small town whose origins we know little about, except that it was first mentioned in documents that date back to the High Middle Ages. The town was badly damaged by the earthquake in 2016, but still has its thirteenth-century layout.
Here’s an interesting fact: the territory of Arquata del Tronto is the only European Municipality to span two National Parks, Monti Sibillini Park in the north and Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga in the south.
Finally, from Arquata del Tronto we go towards the ”flowering landscape of Castelluccio”; in Castelluccio, which, as mentioned, offers a unique spectacle that is different every year. Plunging into such an explosion of colours and scents will be like losing yourself in a real Impressionist painting. For those who love hiking and trekking, there are many trails on Mount Vettore, or on the surrounding mountains, where views of the flowering landscape of the Pian Grande can be enjoyed from different perspectives.
The Flowering festival takes place in the third and last Sundays of June. However, since like any natural event it is subject to the weather conditions, any time from the end of May until the first half of July could be ideal for admiring this spectacle of colours.
Itinerary 3 - Not just sea: Exploring the beauty of Cilento.
Love the sea but not the stifling summer heat? Don’t want to miss out on the cool, green tranquillity of the mountains? If so, the perfect solution for your long spring weekend has to be Cilento! The National Park of Cilento and Vallo di Diano spans from the province of Salerno as far as the nearby Basilicata region, over long stretches of olive groves, rolling hills and mountains looking over the sea. Since 1998 it has also made the UNESCO World Heritage cultural landscape list. Its coastal pathways, striking villages and various archaeological sites will mean you’ll never get bored and, most of all, you won’t be able to resist the delicious local food. Right here, between the mountains and the sea, is where the “Zizzona” of Battipaglia is produced, the famous Buffalo milk mozzarella with each piece weighing even up to 10 kg.
The first leg of our itinerary leaves from Palinuro, a small seaside town located in a natural inlet. The particular conformation of the coastline means that the area is dotted with caves, not only on the surface but also below sea level. The coast of Palinuro, like that of the nearby Marina di Camerota,, has some very special features; so we suggest you rent a dinghy and enjoy it from the sea.
From Palinuro we move on to Marina di Camerota where, in addition to the small historic centre, we find the splendid Infreschi and Costa della Masseta trail, loved by trekkers and other visitors. From here, skirting the sea, you can reach three of the most beautiful coves in Cilento: Pozzallo beach, Cala Bianca beach and Baia degli Infreschi.
Before arriving in Castellabate, you’ll pass through Acciaroli, the small village of sailors that, in 1950, hosted and inspired Ernest Hemingway to write his novella “The Old Man and the Sea”.
Castellabate, with its marina, is one of the best-known and most renowned villages in the whole of Cilento, with its terrace overlooking the sea, and its narrow streets.
From Castellabate, we recommend a trip to Paestum, making a short stop in Agropoli. Its medieval town and majestic Aragonese Castle perched high above the sea will be sure to surprise you!
Once in Paestum a visit to the archaeological siteis a must. It contains the remains of ancient Poseidonia, founded in the 7th century BC by the Greeks and dedicated to Poseidon, the god of the sea, but devoted to Athena and Hera. This site is also on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Finally, to feel and savour the real, intense spirit of Cilento, venture as far as the first inland villages, such as Laurino, Valle dell’Angelo and Piaggine, where you can take the trail leading to Mount Cervati. Standing proud at 1,898 metres tall, it is one of the highest mountains in Campania.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our tips for discovering three unique locations in our beloved Italy this spring. Three itineraries for three completely different places, each with its own, strong identity.
Now it’s your turn to choose which one is best for you, and set off on your next adventure, along with Ducato. Then, all you have to do is close your eyes, take a deep breath... And go!