The Yacht Set
Yachting in Italy
Italy is a truly spectacular yacht charter destination. The Gulf of Naples, Amalfi Coast, Sicily and the Aeolian Islands are famous for their fascinating history, culture and of course, their world famous cuisine. A vacation by yacht is undoubtedly the most enjoyable way to explore coastal towns and islands, moving freely and independently from one place to another.
There is yet more to discover in Italy than its innumerable art-filled towns, its breath-taking landscape, and its superb Chianti. This enchanting corner of the world is perhaps best known for its picturesque Amalfi Coast, but also offers a cluster of islands and areas ripe for discovery by boat: the Tuscan Archipelago, Sicily, the stunning Cinque Terre, the Aeolian Isles and the beautiful island of Sardinia.
The Amalfi Coast offers secluded harbours, crystalline waters and sheltered bays as well as a host of gems to explore on dry land. Positano – with its gorgeous multi-coloured houses hewn into the vertiginous coastline – is perhaps most enchanting viewed from the sea. Capri is a must for a spot of shopping and people-watching, whilst Ischia offers some of the world’s most indulgent thermal spas.
According to mythology, the Tuscan isles – Elba, Gorgona, Capraia, Giannutri, Giglio, Montecristo and Pianosa – were formed when Venus rose from the waters and dropped seven pearls from her necklace into the sea. The largest marine park in Europe, the Tuscan Archipelago National Park obtained protected status in 1986, and remains one of the most beautiful places to sail in the Mediterranean.
The Amalfi Coast reaches from the Gulf of Naples to the Gulf of Salerno, encompassing everything that is dreamed of in a Mediterranean coastal landscape. This truly is the perfect Italian yacht charter holiday destination. Dramatic cliffs tumble into deep blue seas, picturesque towns crowd into the hillsides amid jutting churches and verdant forests, and the restaurant scene is amongst the best in Europe. Deemed by UNESCO to be “an outstanding example of Mediterranean landscape”, the Amalfi Coast has become an extremely popular destination for visiting superyachts, with luxurious resorts, boutique shopping and fine dining establishments appearing in recent years to serve its new influx of visitors with a penchant for the finer things. True to the Italian attitude, the locals have held fast to their traditional lifestyles and pastel-hued terraced houses which merge into the landscape, and the opulence of this glittering region has simply grown around them.
The contrast of old and new is a charming union, making for a unique experience that will ensure your Amalfi Coast holiday is an unforgettable one. The dramatic coastline is characterized by fjords framed by sheer limestone cliffs, with the best views undoubtedly captured from your private charter yacht. Starting your Amalfi coast yacht charter in bustling Naples, you will experience raw and quintessential Italy here: the pizza, the theatres, the energy, and the people. Explore the largest historic city centre in Europe and take in the excellent architecture all around. The chapel of the city is filled with frescoes, and the volcanic soils of the region have blessed the Amalfi Coast with plentiful local produce and fine wine. Whatever it is you desire – classic Neapolitan pizza, coffee, street snacks, sweet treats or fresh seafood – it can all be found here, and to an excellent standard.
The epic ruins of Pompei lie close to Naples and are well worth a visit. After a two-day eruption of Mount Vesuvius, the town was destroyed by lava and buried in ash. 1,500 years later, excavators found that the ash had preserved the hidden town perfectly, uncovering a fascinating and haunting display. Pompei and Naples can be restrictively busy during the summer months; however, your yacht charter can include private tours to avoid the crowds. Naples to Amalfi is an easy journey by luxury yacht, and the town is another must-see on your yacht tour of the Amalfi Coast. Following an earthquake in the 1300s, the town was rebuilt with archit
Amalfi to Capri is another popular route taken by charterers visiting this colourful region, and the charming towns of Sorrento and Positano are both unmissable ports-of-call on your Amalfi Coast itinerary. Sorrento boasts a stunning harbour best approached by sea, with vertiginous and colourful terraces for its dramatic backdrop. Positano – perhaps the most photogenic of the Amalfi Coast’s precious gems – sits high above sea level, a hilly enclave with a rocky beach at its feet and steep, winding streets drawing visitors to its highest point where staggering views can be taken in from the terrace of a trattoria with a glass of local wine close at hand.
Capri Yacht Charter Guide
The villages of the Amalfi coast grew up with the fishing trade, which brought a traditional way of life to the small harbours that are carved into the rocky hillsides. Now a popular destination for Yacht Charter, luxury hotels and boutiques have appeared but the locals have held onto their customs. The result is an area where historic walks can end in gourmet cuisine, and architectural treasures can be viewed before indulging in some designer shopping. The combination of old and new carried off tastefully is rare, and not to be missed. A Capri yacht charter is the ideal way to experience the region. If the chic lifestyle of this special island is not enough to seduce you, jump on your yacht to cruise through the turquoise Tyrrhenian sea, explore grottoes and snorkel in shimmering waters before retiring to the deck to enjoy a gelato at sunset – you are sure to be swept away.
Best Time To Visit: The cruising season in Capri traditionally runs from Easter to the end of October.
Key Cruising Areas: The craggy coastline of Capri begs to be explored. Sail around the island to visit the sea grottoes tucked into the coast, snorkel in sparkling turquoise waters, or visit the Faraglioni sea stacks. For a longer cruise, sail out to Li Galli islands for a swim, and wander round the nearby town of Positano.
Don’t Miss: The Blue Grotto is a well-known tourist spot that for once will not disappoint. Visit it in the late afternoon to avoid the crowds and make the most of the evening light, which turns the water an impossible blue.
Best Spots for Wining and Dining: Capri offers a number of excellent restaurants to suit every palate, from the cliff top seafood restaurant Il Riccio or to Da Paolino, a relaxed ristorante set in a picturesque lemon grove. For a special evening visit La Capannina for local specials and ask your waiter to recommend a wine match from the 200 on the list.
Best Local Dish: The most famous Caprian dish is ravioli capresi, a simple pasta filled with parmigiano, aged caciotta cheese and herbs. Light and flavourful, finish it off with an ice cold limoncello for a perfect Italian lunch.
Local Culture: The beauty of the Amalfi Coast has inspired countless artists, producing an island dotted with art galleries. Visit Liquid Art System to view a collection of local and international arts and sculpture.
Best Beach: The Faraglioni stacks are symbolic of Capri – spend the day floating in the crystal-clear waters beneath towering rock formations, then return to your yacht to drink sangria into the warm evening.
Recommended: Take a walking tour of Capri village and reach the Augustus Gardens, comprehensive of a series of panoramic flower-decked terraces overlooking the Faraglioni and the “Via Krupp”, a historic switchback paved footpath which covers an elevation difference of about 100m. Alternatively head to the second town on the island, Anacapri. A short drive – or steep walk for the energetic – from here take the chairlift for breathtaking views. Return to the Capri Palace Hotel to soak in the lidos and dine in their Michelin-starred restaurant.
The Aeolian Islands, named after the ancient Greek god of the winds Aeolus, are a volcanic archipelago in the Tyrrhenian Sea situated on the North of Sicily. Breathtakingly beautiful and diverse in nature, the seven islands and many uninhabited islets of the Aeolian archipelago were claimed a Unesco World Heritage site in 2000.
An amalgamation of stunning waters, rocky coastlines, smoldering craters and black-sand beaches is what makes these islands truly unique. Each island has its individual charm and the archipelago is a paradise for island hopping.
Lipari is the largest of the Aeolian Islands and the most practical place to start your yacht charter. Lipari Town is a picturesque port characterized by its pastel colored buildings and stunning views. The excellent collection in the Aeolian Archaeological Museum is a must for anyone interested in Mediterranean history.
Panarea, is one of the smallest and considered the most exclusive of the Islands. Spend a lazy morning wandering the cobblestone streets and browsing the elegant shops of San Pietro, then snorkel or kayak the natural tunnel at the south end of the small islet of Dattilo. If you wish to dine off the boat, the deck at the Hotel Raya is a fabulous sunset venue.
One of the three active volcanoes in Italy, Stromboli experiences almost constant volcanic activity, issuing spewing rock and ash that tumble 3,000 feet and finally crash into the sea with great explosions of spray. Visiting charter yachts circle the island’s impressive rock formations to watch dramatic white plumes against the Italian sky. Thrill-seekers can take a two-and-a-half hour hike to the volcano’s crater and witness the unique sight of molten lava.
Alicudi and Filicudi are the most remote of the islands: two extinct volcanoes emerging from the sea. Cruising towards Alicudi you will admire a shoreline formed of dramatic ridges and fissures. On this peaceful island of fishermen, there are no roads and the only means of transportation are donkeys. Enjoy an afternoon exploring the little town, admiring the island’s simple painted dwellings.
Filicudi, considered by many the most beautiful of the islands, is known for its coasts of deep aquamarine waters and secret caves. Grotta del Bue Marino (Cave of the Monk Seal) is ideal for snorkeling and its luminous show of reflected sunlight is a magical sight.
The island of Vulcano, has a growing appeal among travelers thanks to its hot springs and stunning black sand beaches. For anyone looking for a little ‘rejuvenation’ the island offers sulphurous natural mud baths in pools right at the water’s edge, known for their therapeutic benefits. For those looking for an easier hike, make your way up to the Gran Craters, which are an hour’s walk from the anchorage of Porto di Ponente. Although not as dramatic, they still offer impressive views of a volcano crater.
Portofino, La Spezia. Viareggio. Even the names of the towns and villages surrounding the stunning Cinque Terre region of Italy bring about a distinct sense of opulence and calm. Chartering a luxury yacht in the Cinque Terre is the ultimate way to explore this fascinating corner of Italy.
The Cinque Terre (the five villages of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore) are colourful, vertiginous settlements built into the cliffs and linked by a winding footpath – an architectural marvel best comprehended from the water.
This 18 kilometre stretch of coastline boasts bijoux secluded beaches only accessible by foot or boat, labyrinthine pedestrianised streets, and charming pavement cafes serving strong coffee, delicious lunches, and sweet gelato.
Charterers will travel in utter comfort and style, sampling the cornucopia of delights offered by this stretch of Italian coastline. Set amongst some of the most dramatic coastal scenery, this UNESCO World Heritage Site promises to impress. The rugged coastline of the Cinque Terre is enchantingly isolated, each town maintaining its own distinct personality and even its own individual dialect. Take part in the local pastime of wandering laps of the main street together, where the welcoming calls of “Ciao!” will make you feel instantly part of this exclusive little family. Delicious Ligurian food fills the local restaurants with Parma ham and local wine found on virtually every menu. The area is known for its white wine, with the specialty being Sciacchetrà – a dessert wine. A yacht charter in Italy enables you to explore these hard-to-get to boltholes with freedom, and in absolute comfort and luxury. Portofino is a small but spectacular coastal spot and an easy cruise from the international port of Genoa. Once a sleepy fishing village, the town is alive with culture and passion, epitomizing the Italian way of life. The pastel-coloured houses stack in a seemingly precarious arrangement into the steep hillsides, turning the land into a colourful mosaic most perfectly captured when approached from the water.
The turquoise waters reflect the buildings and vegetation towering above, catching the light of the summer sunshine. The Portofino waterfront is lined with people ambling, shopping and stopping for coffee, serenaded by accordion music played by street musicians – the romantic strains of which can often be heard from the water. Superyachts will make reservations to arrive in the small harbour here, where locals will come out and admire the new arrival. Near Portofino you’ll find Santa Margherita and the island of Elba – part of the Tuscan archipelago where Napoléon Bonaparte was exiled. Today you can walk through the ruins of Napoleonic times, including the castle, Basilica of St. Margaret, and the historical abbey. Experience the ‘bella vita’ when you charter a luxury yacht in the Cinque Terre.
Sicily Yacht Charter Guide
If you are considering a yacht charter in Italy, be sure to consider paying the island of Sicily a visit, or include this isle on your itinerary. Charter a yacht in Sicily and experience the true meaning of la bella vita as you cruise around its fascinating outlying islands and discover the rich cultural history of this unique and beautiful island. The island of Sicily is the largest in the Mediterranean Sea, and is an autonomous region of Italy. The impressive faces of Mount Etna can be seen from the sea, and this is undoubtedly the most impressive way to meet Europe’s largest active volcano.
Sicily is best visited by yacht, with the nearby volcanic arc of the Aeolian Islands within easy cruising distance for unforgettable day trips spent swimming, diving and snorkelling in aquamarine waters and discovering the shores of these UNESCO-protected islands. For those with a passion for all things fashion, a day trip to the island of Stromboli – home to Dolce and Gabbana – is a must.
Although most of the Aeolian islands’ volcanoes are usually dormant, Stromboli experiences almost constant volcanic activity, issuing forth molten lava and smoke in a most exhilarating manner. Visiting charter yachts circle the impressive craggy rocks of this particular island to watch dramatic white plumes against the blue Italian sky.
Sicily’s privileged position – surrounded by the Mediterranean sea (the Tyrrhenian sea, Ionian Sea and the strait of Sicily) – has resulted in a colourful history of invasion and conquests throughout the ages. Footprints of the Greek, Romans, and Arabs can all be found amongst Sicily’s typical Italian culture, from its food to its architecture, its art to its music. Every village holds unique glimpses of past times in the country’s history, and the cuisine of Sicily has developed from a small number of indigenous ingredients, infused with some of the exotic flavours of its past settlers.
The size of the island and its impressive coastal views mean that the best views of Sicily are from the water. A charter yacht cruise is the perfect option to explore Sicily’s many beaches and stunning views – and partake in watersports such as water skiing and snorkeling. The southern Italian sun will warm you as you cruise between rugged volcanoes and stroll around its quiet, Medieval towns. Off the beaten track compared to the big Italian cities, Sicily has a simpler feel to it, and a holiday in Sicily is an altogether more rustic experience. The bustle and crowds are absent from all but Sicily’s largest towns, leaving the views unobstructed and an open table always able to be found in its countless charming trattorias. After days spent exploring the art and architecture for which Sicily is famous, your charter yacht’s knowledgeable crew will direct you to the best coffee and cannolo – Sicily’s local pastry and an absolute delicacy. In the evenings, relax and toast the spirit of Sicily’s mother country with a glass or two of crisp Italian wine, and be sure to sample the local Muscat and Marsala, produced exclusively in Sicily.
Venice Yacht Charter Guide
The sight of Venice as you approach from the water is breath-taking. Warm lights from cafes and restaurants spill onto the streets and are reflected in the canals below. Gondaliers punt dreamily through canals as the sun sets in a pink sky, making the water glint. It is easy to see why the romance of this city has inspired poets and novelists across the centuries.
Built on a lagoon, the best way to experience Venice is by yacht. Berth at the prestigious Punta della Salute and explore the city by dinghy or water taxi.
Visit beautiful historic hotels accessible only by water, dine in Michelin-starred restaurants on the highly acclaimed seafood from the city’s aquaculture, and spend evenings watching the moon reflected in shimmering canals, with a chilled glass of local Prosecco.
Best Time To Visit: Venice has a lot to offer any time of year, with festivals throughout the seasons. Winter is beautiful but May – September are the warmest months.
Key Cruising Areas: Many of the lagoons and canals of Venice can be explored by tender, and the city’s location at the top of the Adriatic Sea offers many options to sail to the Croatian or Greek islands.
Don’t Miss: The vaporetto water taxi is a must-do in Venice. Take the route up the Grand Canal for an incredible exhibition of Venetian architecture, and views of many famous sights of the city. Stop at St Mark’s Square and go to the top of the bell tower for the most incredible view of Venice.
Best Spots for Wining and Dining: The area around San Marco is filled with restaurants, and while some cater to the tourists there are a number of excellent choices for those who want something a little more upmarket. Upstairs at Quadri restaurant, the beautiful view of the square is matched by the equally beautiful creations of Michelin starred Chef Alajmo.
Best Local Dish: Venice is home to carpaccio, and so a trip to the city would not be complete without sampling the delicacy at its best. Head to Harry’s Bar where it was invented in 1950 and order the carpaccio and a Bellini – which was also invented here.
Local Culture: Venice is well known for its rich history, art and music. Throughout the year festivals are held to celebrate arts and religious events and are well worth timing your visit for. The annual film festival is held in February, and the Redentore festival in July is famous for its impressive fireworks. The Venetian Gothic architecture can be seen around the city, Doge’s Palace and the Ca’ d’Oro are two of the most famous buildings in this style.
Best Beach: Venice is not famous for beaches, however with a private yacht you can visit the soft sands and shallow water of Albarella private island. Spend a day or two enjoy the unique lagoon, exploring by horseback or indulging in the spa.
Recommended: Venice is a city that exudes art and romance. Get your most glamorous outfit on and experience the best of the Venetian arts scene with tickets to the orchestra. Start at Harry’s for that Bellini, then stroll around the corner to the Teatro la Fenice – a stunning venue which hosts wonderful performances throughout the year.
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