Italy´s beauty is legendary and one town is more attractive than the other. The country has an immensely rich culture and history, gorgeous cuisine and the all-famous lifestyle and chique. For the yacht charter guest it offers vast and varied sailing grounds as well as pretty ports. This combined with all the impressive sights, stunning nature and the Italian `dolce vita` makes for the perfect sailing holiday.
Why is yacht rental in Italy so popular?
Italy and its islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea are located right in the centre of the Mediterranean. A boat rental in Italy is a great opportunity to explore the amazing Italian culture and the multitude of beautiful towns. With 51, there are more UNESCO world heritage sites in Italy than in any other country in the world. And on top of that you get to enjoy fantastic food and great shopping.
The coastline, especially the Italian Riviera in the West, offers many beaches and bays perfectly suited for anchoring. Italy´s islands are mainly located off the west coast of the mainland and they all possess their own individual character. A favourable climate and almost no tides provide for good sailing conditions and there are many interesting possibilities for different sailing itineraries. Italy has a large tradition of boat building and sailing, so sailors benefit from a high frequency of ports. The infrastructure in the northern charter regions and southwards until Rome is very good.
The main airports are Venice, Genoa, Pisa, Rome, Naples, Olbia, Alghero, Cagliari, Reggio Calabria, Palermo, Trapani and Catania.
Here is some general information about yacht charter in Italy:
Location: Central Mediterranean Sea
Total length of coastline: 7,600 km
Main charter bases: Genoa, La Spezia, Piombino, Follonica, Castiglione della Pescaia, Salerno, Sorrento, Tropea, Reggio Calabria. Sardinia: Cagliari, Carloforte, Olbia, Alghero. Sicily: Trapani, Palermo, Portarosa.
Population: ca. 60,675,000
Climate: Mild, Mediterranean
Country code: +39
Charter season: May to October
What are the best charter areas in Italy?
The main charter regions for sailing in Italy are concentrated on the west coast of the mainland, i.e. Liguria, Tuscany, Elba, Bay of Naples, Capri, Sardinia, and Sicily. The Adriatic Coast on the east side is not quite as attractive for boating. Possible charter bases there are Polignano a Mare near Bari, the area around the national park of Gargano and the Venetian Lagoon where you can cruise directly past the world famous Old Town and its stunning buildings.
In the capital of Liguria, Genoa, you encounter the Porto Antico containing the largest aquarium in Europe and many other sights. From there it is only a short walk into the Old Town. After about 14 NM you reach the stunning harbour town Portofino in its protected bay. From here it is about 30 NM to La Spezia and on the way you will pass by one of the quaintest tourist destinations of Italy, a cluster of five picturesque and colourful coastal towns set in a national park called Cinque Terre. La Spezia forms part of the national park and is the second largest city of Liguria. It is conveniently located in a deep gulf surrounded by high hills.
A little further to the South lies the Tuscan Archipelago containing the islands of Gorgona, Capraia, Pianosa, Montechristo, Giglio, Gianutri and the largest and best known – Elba. There are very good charter bases on the Tuscan mainland to go and explore these islands, or maybe even Corsica. They are Viareggio, Piombino, Follonica and Castiglione della Pescaia / Punta Ala. In Elba the main town and port is Portoferraio on the north coast, which is well worth a visit. The island also offers lovely big bays and great anchorages. On the very southern Tuscan tip is Puerto San Stefano – a seaside town on a peninsula with a yacht harbour and a massive fortress.
Sardinia offers a great mix of exclusive cruising grounds and ports like the Costa Smeralda and Porto Cervo as well as unspoilt sailing territories like the famous Maddalena archipelago. There are very good ports like Cagliari, Cannigione, La Maddalena, Olbia, Palau and Portisco. Savour the stunning and varied landscape like the pink beach of Spiaggia Rosa and the fjord-like Gulf of Cannigione.
The Bay of Naples and its islands, the Amalfi Coast and the archipelago of the Pontine Islands offer further brilliant options for yacht charter itineraries. The Amalfi Coast is situated between the charter bases Sorrento and Salerno. It is a 50 km stretch of coastline with very picturesque towns sitting on steep rocky cliffs. The towns of Amalfi and Positano are just two examples.
From the mainland you can head to the islands in the Gulf of Naples. Exclusive Capri is where the international jet set meets. The main town and port with its high-end boutiques and first-class restaurants is situated on the north side. It is very busy and expensive, though. You find good anchorage on the south side in Marina Piccola. There are no sandy beaches on Capri, its coastline is rather craggy and picturesque. The water is deep, so there are not too many safe anchorages.
Then there is quaint, colourful Procida with many beautiful bays and beaches and the natural reserve of Vivara Island, which is attached to Procida via a bridge.
You can cruise to popular, busy Ischia, which is the largest island in the Gulf of Naples. It is an extinct volcano with rich landscape, hot thermal springs, great bays and secluded beaches. The three main ports are Ischia port, Casamicciola and Forio. The South of the island is greener and wilder with beautiful coastline and the north is more populated.
Finally head over to the Pontine Islands. From Ischia to uninhabited and unspoilt Santo Stefano it is about 22 NM. There you are only allowed to anchor in the North of the island. Visit the neighbour island Ventotene and then cross the next 22 NM to the north-western Pontine Islands, Gavi, Palmarola, Zannone and charming Ponza with its many caves and grottos. There you will find nicely protected anchorages and an interesting rugged coastline.
Hugely popular for yacht charter holidays is Sicily, off course. Choose from main charter bases like Marsala or Portorosa in the North, from where you can also explore the Aeolian Islands Lipari, Stromboli, Vulcano, Alicudi, Filicudi, Panarea and Salina. Other possible ports for your Italian bareboat charter are Messina, Taormina, Catania and Syracuse on the east coast. Reggio Calabria on the mainland is also a very good starting point for sailboat charter in Sicily.
Which weather systems are important for your bareboat charter in Italy?
In Italian waters there aren´t any significant tides. The prevailing winds in summer are northwesterlies. Afternoon sea breezes are generally moderating the heat. Long, dry and hot summers make for the perfect sailing weather.
A brief summary of the sailing weather in Italy with the example of Naples:
Months with highest average temperature: July/August, 25°
Months with lowest average temperature: January/February, 9°
Prevailing wind speeds: 3 – 5 Bft.
Month with highest average precipitation: November, 140 mm
Months with lowest average precipitation: June/July/August, 30 mm each
Months with highest average sunshine: July/August, 10 hours per day
Month with lowest average sunshine: December, 3 hours per day
Months with the highest average sea temperature: July/August, 26°
Months with the lowest average sea temperature: February/March, 14°
How much does yacht charter in Italy cost and what types of charter are there?
The average price for yacht charter in Italy is around 3,100 € per week but you could rent a 10 m sailboat, for example, from about 1,600 €. The price is depending on size, model and equipment of the charter boat. In Italy it is quite customary to rent a RIB (rigid inflatable boat) for an excursion on the water. For weekly or longer sailing holidays you can opt for bareboat or skippered charter and choose from sailing or motor boat rental respectively catamaran hire. Then there is luxury yacht charter, usually with a full crew that is tending to your individual needs. Flotilla holidays are a popular way of sailing the Italian waters. And day charter may be a way just to try out if you enjoy life on board.
What other highlights are there in Italy apart from sailing yacht charter?
Don´t miss out on visiting Rome and its amazing antique sites like the Forum, the Colosseum and the Pantheon. Other incredibly impressive tourist destinations in the Eternal City are the Vatican and Saint Peter´s Church. Sit on the Spanish Steps, admire the Trevi Fountain and soak up the huzzle and buzzle around beautiful Piazza Navona and in the pedestrian zone with its endless shops, boutiques, cafés and restaurants. This city offers so much that you will simply have to come back again and again.
Tuscany is just the perfect place for sightseeing. Florence is second to none in the world when it comes to Renaissance art and architecture. There is the statue of David, the great Uffizi museum, the Ponte Vecchio, the Duomo and much, much more. Pisa and the leaning tower are another fantastic attraction. Equally beautiful and worth visiting are Siena, San Gimignano and Lucca.
If you have a day before or after your sailing boat charter, head a little further inland to Bologna with its beautiful old town that is nice to behold from the top of the church tower. It has the oldest academic institution in the wold, dating back to 1088 AD.
Explore Cinque Terre, five stunning villages perched on the steep hills by the seaside surrounded by wonderful nature. Manarola for example is a very pretty, colourful town.
In-between charter trips, check out Pompeii near Naples. It was destroyed by the Vesuvius in 79 AD and now constitutes a `city frozen in time`.
Visit the town of Amalfi and its cathedral, old dockyards and paper mill, amongst others.
Drop anchor in Capri and visit the Blue Grotto – the big cave is filled with spectacular blue light from below.
Go up to the Castello d`Ischia, an Aragonese castle built in 1438 and originally dating back to 475 BC.
While cruising with the charter yacht around the Aeolian Islands or eastern Sicily, admire the active volcanoes of Stromboli and Mount Etna.
Finally, take a break from sailing to enjoy the breathtaking landscape in one of Sardinia`s natural parks like the Parco Nazionale del Golfo di Orosei e del Gennargentu.