Along the autostrada in Italy there is not really a need to worry about running out of fuel or chances to eat. In just 360.3 KM (223.88 miles),Rome to Bologna, there are 15 rest areas that run every 30-50k. They all have fuel but the amenities vary. Some have truck stops with showers, some camping and some motels. The available food is anywhere from just a bar (which over there means cafe) to a full self serve gourmet dining! I seem to remember someone recently saying that she was told …”no one cooks gourmet at home”. The Italians even have it at their rest stops!
The one that I liked the best is called Chef Express. When you first walked in, it opens up to a very large and open space with just about anything you could possibly need. Yes, the picture above is correct. You could buy the meats and cheeses, breads, wine and chocolate that you need. For those that come hungry take your pick. Most stations offer a bar, where you can order coffee and a pastry or sandwich and some fruit. Or, walk over to the restaurant. At the chef express there were foods that we may consider gourmet but I found out is simply normal there. A capresse salad, fruit and cheese plates, meat plates, pasta dishes, grilled dishes and amazing deserts. I was only disappointed that there was not a gelateria in there too. When I asked for gelato, I was directed to a freezer case with ice cream bars in it.
One thing that I was even more interested in was the baby corner. All Mom’s listen up. There are a variety of FREE baby foods along with a microwave and bottle warmer. When is the last time you saw anything like this when you went to the gas station?Add in all of the stuff that a tourist could want to take home and voila ci si va! There you go.
Yes, you can find a McDonald’s (if you look really hard) however, where else can you get a pizza and fries!? This is an actual picture that I took in case someone didn’t believe me. And, there are grilled veggies on it. I think that this one was at an AutoGrill cafe. Very nice choice and everything you need there as well.
Most places have private internet that you can purchase for an hour or more to use your own computer as well as an internet point where you can check out the area. Just remember when you are in the area that you need to purchase you food and internet at the cashier before you can get it. I of course stood in line for a few minutes only to find out that I need to go pay for it first. Luckily, the gentleman was really nice and had already started grilling my sandwich before I came back. This is the sentiment that I experienced everywhere I was in Italy. I have to wonder if I just got lucky?