Incidents concerning attacks on German and Dutch tourists in Italy are sweeping the world, and these appalling happenings have been handled rather insensitively by the Italian authorities, as a read of the post on Beppe Grillo’s blog will tell you.
The free camping situation is just not clear in Italy and even Italians who should know the rules don’t seem to.
However, something else that is worrying is that the Italian authorities don’t appear to know Italy’s laws.
Last night on the RAI TG1 national television news, while talking about the Dutch cyclists who were attacked whilst camping outside of Italy’s capital, Rome’s new Questura (head of law and order) for the area, who is a lawyer, displayed a surprising lack of knowledge of his own country’s laws.
What he said was that anyone has the right to do what and stop – ‘sostare’ where they want in Italy.
Yes, Free Camping in Italy is Possible – if you have permission
Now, this is not exactly correct. Indeed, free or wild camping is generally not legal in Italy, unless you obtain the permission of the landowner first. This will not be feasible for many tourists who won’t be able to speak Italian. Laws, often enacted at regional level tend to forbid camping outside of designated areas and on beaches.
You would expect someone who purports to represent the law would know this, although it is possible that his comment was taken out of context.
Maybe the laws in Italy regarding free camping have changed recently, but with the Italian authorities wishing to tighten everything up on the security front at the moment, one doubts whether this rule would have been relaxed. Of course, it is possible that Rome is one of the areas in which free camping is permitted, but if it were, there would be hoards of tourists camping all over the place, so laws to prevent this most probably exist. Perhaps an Italian lawyer can confirm or deny such a law in the Lazio region of Italy.
It has to be said that people do free camp in Italy, and that they generally have no problems, although I have heard reports of the police waking up campers in the middle of the night and telling them that free camping is illegal in Italy.
At times, Italy gives the impression of being a confusing country run by confused people.