Modern dictionaries define the caravan as a “vehicle equipped with accommodation” or even “recreational vehicle equipped for camping during the trip.” Actually, however, the first caravans were used for practical purposes rather than recreation, such as providing shelter and accommodation to people who travelled, artists in search of an audience, artisans in search of distant customers or simply wanderers in search of a new home. Around 1810 in Europe were built wagons for the transport of people and goods in which it was also possible to stay, used in England since 1820 mostly by street and circus artists. The first who began to live in caravans (vardos), from 1850, were gypsies.
In 1921 the American company Campingcar, based on the car models of Ford, created what is considered the first example of camper vans for tourist use, equipped with four beds and a table. After the World War different caravans pulled by machines began to circulate, while the camper was still a vehicle for a few people, quite a rarity, and by the 1950s it was common to see vans fitted out by campers, although quite spartan in the interior fittings. The best known example of a van adapted to a camper is the Bedford.
In the same year, the Italian company Arca produced the model Noe, becoming from that moment a benchmark in the production of motorhomes in Italy. Today camper vans appear meticulously maintained both inside and outside, equipped with all comforts, like a house, designed for all weather situations and provided with a range of accessories that allow a large autonomy without the need for specific structures in places where it will stop.