Riviera, Elba and Tuscan archipelago, Ponza archipelago, Amalfi Coast, Flegree Islands and Capri
Tyrrhenian Sea strokes Italy's West coast, a true paradise for those who wish to enrich their sailing vacation with unique site seeing and delicious cuisine.
Italy is worldwide renowned for her endless art treasures and archaeological sites but is also a stunning sailing location. With nearly 700 miles of coastline and three little archipelagos between the Riviera and the Messina Strait, the Tyrrhenian Sea offers such a wide sailing area that if you want to enjoy it comfortably, you should consider not less than a month (if not two) to sail it all from North to South, otherwise, if you only have one or two weeks to spend sailing you would better concentrate on a narrower sailing area, like the Riviera, or the Tuscan archipelago, or the Ponza archipelago, or the Amalfi Coast and the Flegree Islands, and charter a yacht locally.
Riviera spreads from South of France, where many amongst the most luxurious charter yachts are berthed (in Antibes, Nice, Monaco and Cannes) to Italy's more discrete and exclusive little gems, like Portofino, Camogli and the Cinque Terre.
If you want to sail this area you might charter a sail yacht round Genova or Cannes (usually more expensive), while if you are going to charter a mega yacht (sail or power) Antibes is usually the preferred base.
Moving southwards, exactly between Corse and Tuscany's mainland, a little archipelago of seven islands makes the perfect place to discover Tuscany's clear waters and enchanting seascapes.
The Elba is the major island of Tuscany's archipelago; with several secluded little bays but also well equipped marinas and villages it's an ideal place for a family cruise: safe and easy sailing in crystalline waters during the day and a bit of life and delicious Tuscan cuisine in the evening.
The other islands of Tuscany's archipelago Capraia, Pianosa, Montecristo, Giglio and Giannutri are still virtually unspoilt (many are not inhabited): a real paradise for nature lovers.
Although a few charter yachts are based in the Island of Elba you might prefer to charter a yacht (monohull or catamaran) on the mainland (round Piombino, Etrusca Marina or Punta Ala) and set sail to the West to reach the archipelago (the Elba Island is only a few miles away).
The Ponza archipelago, named after its main island, lies further South, in front of the Gulf of Gaeta, half way between Naples and Rome.
Ponza is a very popular resort, offering a bouncing and informal night life during the crowded summer months, quite different from the other islands of the archipelago: Palmarola, an almost untouched and inhabited natural gem, Ventotene, with its very quiet and picturesque village and the small Zannone, Gavi and Santo Stefano.
The most convenient bases to charter a yacht in this area are Nettuno (closer if you come from Rome) or Naples or even the little Procida Island where a very modern marina hosts several charter yachts, only 13 miles (40 minutes by ferry) away from Naples or Pozzuoli.
Procida is actually part of another little archipelago, the Flegree Islands, whose main islands, Ischia and Capri, hardly need any introduction. If you have the chance to spend a few days in Capri you'll be able to appreciate how its fame is utterly deserved: nature has sketched here one of its most beautiful pictures, even more charm being added to it by the old fishing village on the shore and the extremely elegant villas and hotels almost hidden by the rich vegetation on the rock.
But what really strikes the yachtsman are the super yachts moored (if not jammed) in the little port of the island, being Capri quite an obligatory stop for the finest sail yachts and motor yachts in the Mediterranean Sea.
Your sailing cruise in this area will continue along the coast from Sorrento to Amalfi, namely the Amalfi Coast, dotted with the picturesque fishing villages of Positano, Minori, Maiori (just to mention the most famous ones) and the enchanting Ravello, with its wonderful villas and terrasses.
To really enjoy this area, you should plan to spend at list a couple of days on land tours.
If you intend to sail the very Southern part of the Tyrrhenian Sea, from the Cilento and the Gulf of Policastro to Sicily, you might charter a yacht in Agropoli or in Tropea, where the number of charter yachts on offer is now very appealing.
BASES and SUGGESTED SITES
CASTIGLIONCELLO - SALIVOLI - ETRUSCA MARINA - PORTOFERRAIO
1° week: Castiglioncello, Salivoli, Etrusca Marina, Portoferraio, Island Gorgona, Island Giglio, Island Montecristo, Island Elba, Island Capraia.
PUNTA ALA - CALA GALERA - NETTUNO
Nettuno, Island Ponza, Island Palmarola, Island Ventotene, San Stefano.
PROCIDA - NAPOLI - SALERNO
Procida, Island Ischia, Island Capri, Salerno, Amalfi.
AGROPOLI - VIBO VALENTIA - TROPEA - REGGIO CALABRIA
Agropoli, Vibo Valentia, Tropea, Reggio Calabria.
GENOVA - SAN REMO - PORTOVENERE
Genova, San Remo, Portovenere.