January 8, 2021 – Today we want to talk to you about the umpteenth distortion created by local laws against those traveling with a recreational vehicle. We are all aware of the problems related to the ordinances governing the ban on parking of campers (technically “motor homes”). Over and over again it has been established that such measures are illegitimate, but their diffusion is such that under normal conditions it is better to avoid the places that established them rather than stop and risk a sanction which must then – if it is worth it – be disputed.
What is less well known are the local laws and regulations that regulate (or rather prohibit) camping. Here we enter into discussions that are more delicate, because one thing is to face a fine, albeit a high one, for a prohibition of parking (illegitimate), another is to face a fine for a prohibition of camping, which can take on disturbing connotations. In Vieste (FG), for example, last summer fines of over €2,000 were raised for leaving the motorhome windows open.
What the Traffic Laws say
It should therefore be remembered what article 185 of the Traffic Laws in paragraph 2 says: “The parking of motorhomes, where permitted, on the roadway does not constitute camping, encampment or similar if the vehicle does not rest on the ground except with wheels, it does not emit its own outflows, except for those of the mechanical engine, and in any case it does not occupy the roadway to an extent exceeding the size of the vehicle itself“. In practice, if no wedges are used, no compass windows are opened, the step is not left open and no outflows other than those of the motor are emitted, it cannot be considered as camping.
Here, however, there remains an open dispute, that is, what is meant by “outflows”. In theory, even turning on the gas refrigerator or heating (gas or diesel) could trigger the accusation of camping. We are not lawyers, and we are not aware of penalties imposed for this reason, so we wrote to the National Association and Coordination of Motorhomers (www.coordinamentocamperisti.it), to which we invite you to join. In this post we have published their opinion.
An increasingly delicate issue
However, the issue becomes even more delicate because in Piedmont regional law number 5 of 2019, entitled “Discipline of outdoor accommodation complexes and itinerant tourism“, has been amended. Already originally, even if the thing has never been highlighted enough, this rule stated (Article 10, paragraph 1) that “It is not allowed to stay with fittings or other mobile means of accommodation outside the areas identified by articles 6 and 8” – that are campsites, tourist villages and “garden sharing ” – thus introducing a new doubt: after stopping and camping, what is meant by “stay”? The penalties, however, were provided only for those who violated paragraph 2 (“Free camping is not allowed in any form“) and ranged from €250 to €1,000.
However, with the latest version, effective from today (January 8, 2021), things have become quite complicated. Article 10 was rewritten thanks to an amendment by the regional councilor Maurizio Marrone, representative of the Fratelli d’Italia party, which in the intentions should serve to combat illegal settlements, but which in practice proves to be a risk of enormous proportions for campers: the seizure of the vehicle.
Piedmont regional law number 5/2019
But let’s let the Piedmontese legislation “speak”:
Art.10. (Exemptions and exclusions)
1. It is not allowed to stay with fittings or other mobile means of accommodation outside the areas identified in articles 6 and 8, except for:
a) open spaces intended for campers to stay inside the agritourism accommodation facilities in accordance with the regional legislation in force on the subject;
b) the areas for itinerant tourism in favor of recreational vehicles identified by Legislative Decree 285/1992 and the relative implementation regulation;
c) the private areas and spaces offered in garden sharing mode, pursuant to article 7, with the owner’s consent.
2. Free camping is not allowed in any form, except for the parking of recreational vehicles in compliance with Article 185 of Legislative Decree 285/1992.
2 bis. The provisions of this article do not apply to occasional settlements, which do not exceed 48 hours, of individual vehicles or mobile arrangements for overnight stays in places where there are no places available in open-air accommodation complexes or authorized parking areas.
Art. 21 (Sanctions)
1. Anyone who contravenes the obligation referred to in Article 10, paragraph 2, is subject to the payment of a pecuniary administrative sanction from €250.00 to €1,000.00, as well as the administrative seizure of the mobile means of accommodation.
The occasional settlement is also born…
So, if on the one hand the possibility of stopping is saved, on the other hand, the concept of “occasional settlement” of individual vehicles for a maximum of 48 hours is also introduced, but only in places where no camping or rest areas are available. That is, it introduces the obligation to spend the night in an official accommodation facility. All this would remain a “manageable” problem and at the risk of a simple (albeit high) fine, were it not for the fact that the law concerns the entire regional territory and not a single municipality and that the risk in case of dispute is that of the motorhome seizure!
Once again we are stunned by the lightness (if this is the problem) with which our representatives write the laws, making it both difficult (and subjective) to interpret and complicated to apply. The hope is that some official voice will rise to oppose these rules and that in the meantime the police will apply a lot of common sense.
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