We have just returned from a well earned and much enjoyed week with Campiente on the Tuscan Coast at Orbetello Camping Village. The weather was good and while we spent most of the week at the beach or at the pool we also ventured out a couple of times to visit the picturesque town of Orbetello and the peninsular of Monte Argentario.
Monte Argentario is a mountain (635m) in the south of Tuscany connected to the mainland by three narrow strips of land which encapsulate two lagoons, in the middle of which lies Orbetello. The southern strip is a national park consisting of a pine forest and long wide sandy beach. The northern strip also contains a long sandy beach, but is more developed, with holiday homes and campsites.
Orbetello Camping Village is a medium sized campsite and lies on this northern strip and is only around 100m from the beach. The path does cross the main road to Argentario, so children must be accompanied, though at busy times of the day the crossing is staffed by local volunteers (acting much like lollipop ladies!).
Arriving at the beach there is an area on the left where you can rent sunloungers and umbrellas, whilst on the right the beach is free. We were there in mid July and there was no problem with space even though the beach is not the deepest. The sand is fine and more importantly clean and the water very shallow. The depth remains knee deep for a good twenty metres which is perfect for children. Obviously the shallow water combined with the fine sand and sun creamed people left the water a little murky but it seemed clean. The water quality is classed as excellent (as it is along 97% of the Tuscan coast) and close by on Argentario the water is crystal clear.
As an alternative to the beach the campsite has a very nice modern pool area with wooden decking, sunloungers (payment necessary) and plenty of grassy areas. There is a shallow kids pool as well as a 25m pool and three jacuzzi pools! The pools opening hours are a bit restricted (10:00-19:00) and there is no swimming lane or hour, so actual swimming is difficult. It would be nice to see more time and space dedicated to people who actually want to swim, especially as the facilities are already there. This however is a common problem on many sites.
There is a multilingual animation team to entertain the kids, both on the beach and on the site, as well as aerobics in the sea, and other activites such as pool side yoga (payment required). The evening entertainment is more classic Italian campsite style: loud, cheesy and ends quite late (after 11pm). Our kids loved it and we didn’t find it too much, though if you are light sleepers and early to bed check that you aren’t too close to the centre of the site. The supermarket is well stocked is open till late (though does close twice during the day). The restaurant was fairly typical campsite fare, with friendly staff, but they were clearly overwhelmed on busy evenings. It’s best to avoid the busiest moments otherwise you may have to wait for your food.
We stayed in a Campiente Riviera mobile home booked directly through Campiente, which is one of the smaller and cheaper campsite holiday companies. They are based in the Veneto region and offer holidays on 22 campsites, mainly in Italy but also in Croatia, Austria and France. They have no staff on site so we checked in directly though the campsite reception (Note: armbands must be worn throughout the stay – a growing trend and another pet hate….. it’s one thing on the site, but when you go offsite you may as well stick a flashing “tourist” sign on your head).
The mobile itself seemed to be pretty new and in very good condition. The large covered terrace was great and everything was generally perfect for a family of five. We could have used a few more pots and pans, but nothing major was missing. The car must be left in the car park, but it was less than 50m away and to be honest, I prefer it when there are no cars around on campsites.
Offsite we didn’t manage to visit anywhere near as much as we’d have liked, but we had too much fun relaxing. We did get out for a drive round Argentario though and the views from almost everywhere are spectacular, there are castles, islands (including the famous Giglio), bays, ports full of impressive yachts, with strips of beach heading of into the distance. We stopped for a while at small rocky sandy beach in a little hidden bay to relax for a while. The walk down (and back up) was quite hard work in the heat but the place was beautiful and the clear water amazing.
We had a quick look at Orbetello which is a quaint little town, but a week wasn’t anywhere near enough to really explore the area. We had a great time though so will be happy to return to both the area and Orbetello Camping Village, and would holiday again with Campiente.