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La Rocca Camp (Lake Garda, Italy)

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Campsite on the banks of Lake Garda in Italy

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      13.10.2010 13:38
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      A corker of a site

      Camping in Italy is always a lot of fun and I'm never sure whether it's the weather, the Italian people and their romantic language or just the wine and copious amounts of pasta and sumptuous sauces but I am always happy when travelling through the country especially for a long 4 or 6 week vacation. One of the areas I adore the most is the Italian Lakes. Before I ever visited this region of Lombardy and Piedmont I always thought it was an area where old folks liked to go - a haven for lake lovers and retired souls. Lake Garda and its neighbouring lakes can appeal to these groups but there is also a wide variety of activities to get involved in and some spectacular scenery.

      Camping suits our family in the summer - we like to drive long distances and then just flop down outside a tent with a few beers and some barbecued food. We have had a camper van for a length of time but overall I would say staying under canvas is our favourite option.

      La Rocca campsite is set in a fantastic location; in the shadow of the rocky promontory that juts out into the lake. Boats dot here, there and everywhere on the lake and because of their frequency you are able to jump aboard, sit back and relax and enjoy the beauty of the lake and its surroundings. Nothing to it - just like sitting on a bus.

      The campsite is spacious and has a very open feel with grassy pitches, all sheltered from the sun. On site there is a shop selling basic goods but these are generally more expensive than in the local towns/villages. Never buy wine from these shops as they are far too expensive and the choice is limited. The nearest village is Manerba del Garda (2.5 km).

      If campfire cooking isn't your style then don't stress there is a small snack bar and a restaurant that serves 3 course meals and has a take away service. I like to cook on site and also prefer to travel out to the small villages for something to eat but every now and again especially when we have been on a long hike it's nice to know that the restaurant is there. Food served here is of a high quality. Pasta has always been cooked just how I like it with plenty of seasoned sauce made from fresh ripe tomatoes and chopped oregano. The bar is close by which is always a blessing and one of the first things I check out.

      There are plenty of sporty activities on site; some organised, others not. Tennis is popular but not with me as I am as blind as a bat and can never see the ball. Table tennis tables are free to use and of course, there are two swimming pools; one family sized and the other a children's pool. There is direct access to the lake if you prefer lake swimming which I do but the beach at the lakeside is pebbly and not to everyone's taste. Canoes are good fun to hire and this part of the lake is ideal for this pastime. Sun loungers are allowed around the pool but when you do dive into the pool remember to wear your swimming cap. Not very flattering I know but Italians love rules and this is one you have to bide by. During high season there is a lifeguard on duty that's when he's not eyeing up all the young beauties.

      Washing facilities are very good with shower cubicles (warm water) and hot showers. Toilets are standard; no funny designs here. Babies are catered for with baby baths and changing facilities. If you really feel the need to use the washing machine during your stay then there are 2 available and this will knock you back 3 Euros, fifty cents and that's without washing powder. The price of the use of the drier is the same; there is an extra laundry service and ironing facilities.

      My favourite walk while staying at La Rocca was actually to walk up the rock. It was a really clear day and the view from the top was of the blue shimmering water of one of Italy's most beautiful lakes, Lake Garda.

      Moniga and Manerba are two villages close by and are really very attractive but the best way to see all the pretty lakeside villages is to take a boat from nearby Desenzano.

      Further afield, if you have the energy, is Brescia, a very picturesque town and historic Verona; a worthwhile day trip where you can soak up the delights of Roman ruins that are second only to those of Rome itself. A city renowned for its art in Medieval times but probably most famous for being the backdrop to Romeo and Juliet. If bustling cities are your thing then Milan can be seen in a day and the unforgettable city of Venice with it gondolas, jaded architecture and expensive shops is approximately 150 kilometres away.

      Other snippets of information that might be helpful are; stamps can be purchased at reception where staff do speak Italian, German and a little English. Credit cards are accepted, Wi-fi can be found in reception, by the pool and in the bar and there is also Internet access available. If you lose your mobile or forget to take it with you phone cards can be bought from reception.

      I think that covers what goes on at La Rocca campsite. One last thing - a worthwhile attraction to visit if you have the time and enjoy Formula 1 racing is definitely the Ferrarri museum. The present headquarters are situated just south of Lake Garda in Maranello and the museum is just around the corner. The building is modern and has two floors which house racing and road cars. You can buy books and other memorabilia including those cute dinky hand made models of these fine red cars.

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