February 22, 2023 – A strange day today on the banks of the Po. The morning was spent looking for a rest area or a camper service, but as I feared, it turned out to be a complicated task. The Park4Night app had already told me that there are many problems in the existing areas in the area… But then, with lunch and the afternoon, I made up for it. And it was ultimately a very pleasant Wednesday.
Let’s start with the “needs” of the camper: WC cassette full, half water, battery to recharge. The ideal solution would be a rest area with electricity, but along the banks there are none. The battery, however, with small daily trips will certainly last another 24 hours if not even 48. So, I head to the closest area, that of Stienta, about six kilometers from where I slept. The situation is bleak. It is the first rest area for motorhomes, or at least as defined by Google Maps, with a barrier at a height of 3,40 meters. They seem like a lot, and it must have been to prevent access to trucks (but next door there is another parking area where there is no bar…), but those with very large means can find themselves in difficulty. I myself have Falkor who is 305 centimeters tall, to which is added an additional 30 from the air conditioner, to create some doubts.
The second perplexity comes from the sign that says: “SERVICE ONLY – MAX 1h“. Does it mean that I can stay on the unloading grate for a maximum of 60 minutes or that you cannot park in the entire car park? The issue is irrelevant, given the ugliness of the place and the number of alternative solutions for sleeping in the area. So, I focused on the drain: a small, immovable grate, which means a “dirty” drain, to be cleaned with plenty of water. That doesn’t work. So, in order not to further dirty an already not very decent site, I just download the gray water.
In Castelguglielmo the area is closed for over two months
The second attempt is for the camper parking area of Castelguglielmo, 12 kilometers away. There should be water, electricity, and drainage with the possibility of staying overnight for €8, according to Park4Night. However, one user reported that it was closed at the end of December… I decide to go and see. The area is new, perfectly equipped, but a sign says it is “closed for maintenance since December 14, 2022“. Two months later it is still in the same situation: no work in progress and no presumed date of completion. I decide to enter on foot with the WC cassette to empty it (in a modern grid suitable for the function) and a bucket of water to rinse. I also manage to get rid of the waste separation, but I am left without the possibility of charging water and battery. I’ll have enough of the first for a couple more days, for the second, having done a few kilometers more than expected, I shouldn’t have any problems.
The question of how these structures at the service of tourists are created and managed remains. And I leave the comments of the case to the reader…
Long live the Osteria di Fiesso Umbertiano
Yesterday’s visit from the Carabinieri also brought me another piece of advice, in addition to the ones I’ve already written about: a small retaurant in Fiesso Umbertiano, which is located – more or less – along the road back towards the Po. So, I decided to “straighten” the day by putting the information received to the test. Satisfaction was great: a plate of ravioli stuffed with radicchio and taleggio sauce with chopped toasted walnuts, one of grilled speck with fresh mushrooms (cold dish) and a side dish of sautéed mushrooms, a 75cl water, a quarter of wine, coffee, and grappa for €17. And all very good. I don’t know if in the evening the “à la carte” menu has different prices from the business lunch, but in my opinion it’s worth a try. The place is called L’Osteria, it’s small and it’s advisable to book.
To work off this lunch, it was enough for me to go back to the Po at Stienta and then move a few kilometers along the left bank: in Gaiba, in correspondence with the river dock (where there is, moreover, a splendid, fixed houseboat), there is a gazebo with a cabinet for book crossing and the possibility of parking. From here starts a beautiful floodplain path immersed in the woods: Yoda and I walked about two kilometers without meeting a soul, before returning to the van. Since the road in this section is not very busy, I think I will also use it for the night. Meanwhile, I enjoy my “office” with a view of the Po before the evening shadows fall.
- Where to sleep: In the small grass parking lot next to the Gaiba gazebo with picnic tables and book crossing, near the river dock
- Where to eat: Following the advice of one of the Carabinieri who stopped me yesterday morning, I went to a place called L’Osteria in Fiesso Umbertiano, in via Roma, about 13 km away. For bookings: +39 0425 741387
- Camper service: In Stienta, about six kilometers away, there is a motorhome parking area with loading and unloading, but without electricity. The sewage grate is small and there was no water when I visited. It’s not even certain that you can stop. In Castelguglielmo, on the other hand, there is a new area with electricity, water in the pitch (10 stalls) and loading and unloading (it should cost €8 to be paid exclusively via the EasyPark app), but when I passed by it had been closed for maintenance for over two months