Italy – the central peninsula of the Mediterranean and (along with Greece) the cradle of European ancient civilization – or so it’s said. Whatever you may believe historically, there is no doubt of the wonder of what Italy has to offer from it’s ancient archaeology and history on land to the wonder of the natural environments around it’s mainland coastline and islands.
Extending out into what we generally term the Mediterranean, Italy is bounded by the Ligurian and Tyrrhenian Seas to the west and the Adriatic Sea to the east. There are a multitude of different sailing experiences (and coastline land exploration opportunities) around Italy so varied in their nature, just exploring them all could take years. Along the Ligurian coastline, extending from the French border around past Genoa, down along the famous Cinque Terre towards Elba; continuing into the Tyrrhenian Sea around Elba and along the Tuscan coast southwards towards Lazio and Rome and onward to the Neapolitan Riviera along Campania and Calabria. Around the Tyrrhenian we also have the major islands of Sardinia and Sicily, even Malta (though not Italian) is a short sail away from Sicily. Then, right over the east side, we have the Adriatic, with Venice and Trieste at it’s head.
Italy – so much to offer, so much to explore!
The Ligurian Sea is an arm of the Mediterranean Sea, between the Italian Riviera (Liguria and Tuscany) and the islands of Corsica and Elba. The sea is named after the ancient Ligures people. The sea borders Italy, France, Monaco and Corsica, and to the southeast, the Tyrrhenian Sea. From the French/Italian border between Menton and Ventimiglia, all around to the Tuscan Archipelago, the coastline is dotted with many marina cities all around this “inner curve” of the sea. Genoa is the most prominent city in the area, though do also consider the coastline between San Remo and Savona; Rapallo to La Spezia/Massa and onward to Piombino and Elba.
Bordering the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west of the Italian mainland, you find the island of Sardinina, with its excellent cruising waters and miles of pristine white beaches. North Sardinia is the most popular area, rich with anchorages, while South Sardinia is useful for cruisers travelling east or west through the Mediterranean. Generally, most curisng is either towards the north end or the south end of the island, the easter and western coastlines are generally transit coastlines to the busiers top/bottom of the island. Cagliari (south), Aleghero (west) and Olbia (northeast) are the main destinations, with the Madellena island chain (north of Obia).
Sicily and the islands around it are magnificent and often underrated. Their rich volcanic geography and archaeological splendour make them truly fascinating land masses to sail around and to explore.
You could easily spend four weeks circumnavigating the main island of Sicily and a little more for the Aeolian and Aegadian Islands – but what an all-encompassing adventure that would be – wonderful and highly recommended.
The Adriatic Sea, as a sub-part of the Mediterranean whole, is 420nm long by 100nm wide and unusually for the Mediterranean, this sea does have a measurable tidal range of up to 1.2m, with weather surges increasing this. By far the most popular is the east side, bordering Croatia, however – certainly NOT to be missed is the Italian Adriatic coast from Trieste around to Venice at the north end of the sea, then further around and southward past Ravenna, Rimini, Ancona and towards Pescara; then further south, Bari, Brindisi and especially Otranto, with its magnificent ancient walls and fortifications is certainly well worth seeing.