4-Xtremes – Part 26: premiere in the "Heart of Italy"

Series: 4-Xtremes – The World Tour

Stuck.

Ciao, Corona, viva l'Italia! On their way up north Andrea and Mike experience some major attractions without any restrictions – and tiny villages without any room to manoeuvre.

Buried 2000 years ago, now visited by the Kammermanns on their second attempt: the excavation site at Pompeii.


Whether on the "World Tour" or previously on the first major journey with the Axor expedition truck, we've certainly experienced plenty of crazy things. We've overcome obstacles, had to surrender to others and even made detours of thousands of kilometres as a result. But something totally new happened to us a few days ago in a village in the "Heart of Italy": our truck got so blocked in by parked cars that we could go neither forwards nor backwards. More on this shortly!

We've reached the Italian mainland after a short ferry crossing over the Strait of Messina. The region down there in the south is wild and very green. It surprises us with fantastic hiking routes and beaches as well as ancient villages like Tropia, which we especially liked.


Fun at the wheel, history and lots of greenery: the south of Italy is well worth a trip, especially in the early summer. As well as the ruins of ancient Pompeii, the Kammermanns were particularly impressed by the pilgrimage church of Santa Maria dell'Isola in Tropia, Calabria.
Fun at the wheel, history and lots of greenery: the south of Italy is well worth a trip, especially in the early summer. As well as the ruins of ancient Pompeii, the Kammermanns were particularly impressed by the pilgrimage church of Santa Maria dell'Isola in Tropia, Calabria.
Fun at the wheel, history and lots of greenery: the south of Italy is well worth a trip, especially in the early summer. As well as the ruins of ancient Pompeii, the Kammermanns were particularly impressed by the pilgrimage church of Santa Maria dell'Isola in Tropia, Calabria.
Fun at the wheel, history and lots of greenery: the south of Italy is well worth a trip, especially in the early summer. As well as the ruins of ancient Pompeii, the Kammermanns were particularly impressed by the pilgrimage church of Santa Maria dell'Isola in Tropia, Calabria.
Fun at the wheel, history and lots of greenery: the south of Italy is well worth a trip, especially in the early summer. As well as the ruins of ancient Pompeii, the Kammermanns were particularly impressed by the pilgrimage church of Santa Maria dell'Isola in Tropia, Calabria.
Fun at the wheel, history and lots of greenery: the south of Italy is well worth a trip, especially in the early summer. As well as the ruins of ancient Pompeii, the Kammermanns were particularly impressed by the pilgrimage church of Santa Maria dell'Isola in Tropia, Calabria.
Fun at the wheel, history and lots of greenery: the south of Italy is well worth a trip, especially in the early summer. As well as the ruins of ancient Pompeii, the Kammermanns were particularly impressed by the pilgrimage church of Santa Maria dell'Isola in Tropia, Calabria.
Fun at the wheel, history and lots of greenery: the south of Italy is well worth a trip, especially in the early summer. As well as the ruins of ancient Pompeii, the Kammermanns were particularly impressed by the pilgrimage church of Santa Maria dell'Isola in Tropia, Calabria.
Fun at the wheel, history and lots of greenery: the south of Italy is well worth a trip, especially in the early summer. As well as the ruins of ancient Pompeii, the Kammermanns were particularly impressed by the pilgrimage church of Santa Maria dell'Isola in Tropia, Calabria.
Fun at the wheel, history and lots of greenery: the south of Italy is well worth a trip, especially in the early summer. As well as the ruins of ancient Pompeii, the Kammermanns were particularly impressed by the pilgrimage church of Santa Maria dell'Isola in Tropia, Calabria.
Fun at the wheel, history and lots of greenery: the south of Italy is well worth a trip, especially in the early summer. As well as the ruins of ancient Pompeii, the Kammermanns were particularly impressed by the pilgrimage church of Santa Maria dell'Isola in Tropia, Calabria.
Fun at the wheel, history and lots of greenery: the south of Italy is well worth a trip, especially in the early summer. As well as the ruins of ancient Pompeii, the Kammermanns were particularly impressed by the pilgrimage church of Santa Maria dell'Isola in Tropia, Calabria.
Fun at the wheel, history and lots of greenery: the south of Italy is well worth a trip, especially in the early summer. As well as the ruins of ancient Pompeii, the Kammermanns were particularly impressed by the pilgrimage church of Santa Maria dell'Isola in Tropia, Calabria.
Fun at the wheel, history and lots of greenery: the south of Italy is well worth a trip, especially in the early summer. As well as the ruins of ancient Pompeii, the Kammermanns were particularly impressed by the pilgrimage church of Santa Maria dell'Isola in Tropia, Calabria.
Fun at the wheel, history and lots of greenery: the south of Italy is well worth a trip, especially in the early summer. As well as the ruins of ancient Pompeii, the Kammermanns were particularly impressed by the pilgrimage church of Santa Maria dell'Isola in Tropia, Calabria.
Fun at the wheel, history and lots of greenery: the south of Italy is well worth a trip, especially in the early summer. As well as the ruins of ancient Pompeii, the Kammermanns were particularly impressed by the pilgrimage church of Santa Maria dell'Isola in Tropia, Calabria.
Fun at the wheel, history and lots of greenery: the south of Italy is well worth a trip, especially in the early summer. As well as the ruins of ancient Pompeii, the Kammermanns were particularly impressed by the pilgrimage church of Santa Maria dell'Isola in Tropia, Calabria.
Fun at the wheel, history and lots of greenery: the south of Italy is well worth a trip, especially in the early summer. As well as the ruins of ancient Pompeii, the Kammermanns were particularly impressed by the pilgrimage church of Santa Maria dell'Isola in Tropia, Calabria.
Fun at the wheel, history and lots of greenery: the south of Italy is well worth a trip, especially in the early summer. As well as the ruins of ancient Pompeii, the Kammermanns were particularly impressed by the pilgrimage church of Santa Maria dell'Isola in Tropia, Calabria.
Fun at the wheel, history and lots of greenery: the south of Italy is well worth a trip, especially in the early summer. As well as the ruins of ancient Pompeii, the Kammermanns were particularly impressed by the pilgrimage church of Santa Maria dell'Isola in Tropia, Calabria.
Fun at the wheel, history and lots of greenery: the south of Italy is well worth a trip, especially in the early summer. As well as the ruins of ancient Pompeii, the Kammermanns were particularly impressed by the pilgrimage church of Santa Maria dell'Isola in Tropia, Calabria.
Fun at the wheel, history and lots of greenery: the south of Italy is well worth a trip, especially in the early summer. As well as the ruins of ancient Pompeii, the Kammermanns were particularly impressed by the pilgrimage church of Santa Maria dell'Isola in Tropia, Calabria.

The last days of Pompeii – 2000 years on.

On Sicily we experienced just what power Etna can still develop in 2021. A good bit further north, near Naples, we explore the traces left by a volcanic eruption way back when: at the Pompeii excavation site. 2000 years ago this is where Vesuvius buried the ancient city, most of which was preserved under the ashes.

That's why it's possible to visit the ruins of Pompeii today. As long as Corona doesn't get in the way of your plans, which is what happened to us on our journey to Tunisia a while ago. Back then Italy had also closed its visitor attractions. But as the pandemic now appears to be in retreat, the country is preparing itself for its summer tourism.

So now there's nothing to prevent us from exploring this fascinating site. On our second attempt we're even lucky enough to be there before the huge crowds arrive in the coming few weeks and – as so often in the past months – we have the place virtually to ourselves as we stroll along the ancient roads.


A proper pitch instead of camping in the wild.

Meanwhile the Axor is parked at a nearby campsite. As much as we love setting up camp out in the wild, in busier spots and especially in towns, we prefer official pitches which are paid for and guarded. We want to go out for a few hours, and because of the heat we want to be able to leave the windows open for Aimée without having to worry. The only problem: although our Axor is not much bigger than an average camper van, there are lots of campsites that are out of the question – our truck is too high because of its camper body.

For the drive further north we decide to leave the coast and look for routes through the mountains. We want to hear the "Heart of Italy" beating. This authentic Italy, as we see it, is actually worth every extra mile driven away from the regular routes. Shopping in the village shop or at the market, rustic restaurants in which "Mamma" does the cooking – you might think that that's only a thing of TV commercials. But you'd be wrong!



Wait and join in the celebrations!

Maybe it's only logical that it's here, of all places, that we should experience our "premiere" that we alluded to at the beginning of this report. In one of the villages the road leading to the car park is so narrow that there is only room for one vehicle. Nothing special about that. But the next morning one car after the other turns up. Until everything that can possibly be used as a parking space is occupied.

So we decided not just to wait until the morning rush hour traffic dissipated, and instead opted to stay the whole day and the following night. We also found out very quickly where this row of cars had come from: we happened to be here on the 2nd of June – Italy's national holiday. So we stuck around and joined in the celebrations.


Unusual hustle and bustle in Florence.

The further north we go, the more orderly the situation appears to become. There are fewer opportunities for wild camping, mud tracks are fenced off, there are even signs prohibiting parking. With this in mind, we make swift progress – and soon reach Florence, the capital of Tuscany.

Ten minutes away from the historic centre we find a safe parking spot and go into town for the evening. And we find that there's lots going on here, the streets are full of tourists and people selling souvenirs. But that's hardly surprising in these beautiful surroundings! All this hustle and bustle feels very strange in the early summer of 2021. But we still enjoy the sunset in Michelangelo Square – after trekking through the old town.


Both from a bird's-eye perspective and when looking at all the details: Florence is a fascinating city.
Both from a bird's-eye perspective and when looking at all the details: Florence is a fascinating city.
Both from a bird's-eye perspective and when looking at all the details: Florence is a fascinating city.
Both from a bird's-eye perspective and when looking at all the details: Florence is a fascinating city.
Both from a bird's-eye perspective and when looking at all the details: Florence is a fascinating city.
Both from a bird's-eye perspective and when looking at all the details: Florence is a fascinating city.
Both from a bird's-eye perspective and when looking at all the details: Florence is a fascinating city.
Both from a bird's-eye perspective and when looking at all the details: Florence is a fascinating city.
Both from a bird's-eye perspective and when looking at all the details: Florence is a fascinating city.
Both from a bird's-eye perspective and when looking at all the details: Florence is a fascinating city.
Both from a bird's-eye perspective and when looking at all the details: Florence is a fascinating city.
Both from a bird's-eye perspective and when looking at all the details: Florence is a fascinating city.
Both from a bird's-eye perspective and when looking at all the details: Florence is a fascinating city.
Both from a bird's-eye perspective and when looking at all the details: Florence is a fascinating city.

Will the Tunisian diesel get us to Slovenia?

For the moment we're sitting in the shade and waiting. No, not because we're blocked in by parked cars again. Instead, we're waiting for the thermometer to drop below 30 degrees. Here inland it's too hot, and in the middle of the day we often sit in the shade of a tree or in the camper.

Our plan for the coming days: to save fuel as we travel, so the Tunisian diesel we're using can take us further north, up to the Slovenian border. Then it will be much cheaper to fill up than in Italy. And what will we do then? We regularly sit at our laptop figuring that out.


4-Xtremes – The World Tour.

A one-of-a-kind journey.

For eleven months, Andrea and Mike Kammermann were on the “4‑Xtremes” tour with their Axor. Now they are on an even greater adventure. The pair from Switzerland will be on the road for three years and the RoadStars community will again be joining them on the trip! Always be up-to-date and don’t miss any of the breathtaking destinations that our adventurous couple are heading for.

You can find all the parts from the “4-Xtremes – The World Tour” series here.


Photos: 4-Xtremes

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