The beauty of Italy is legendary and one city is more attractive than the other. The country has an immensely rich culture and history, magnificent cuisine, and the famous lifestyle and elegance. For guests chartering yachts, it offers vast and varied yachting grounds, as well as pretty harbors. This, combined with all the stunning views, stunning nature, and Italian “dolce vita”, makes for the perfect sailing vacation.
Why is yacht charter in Italy so popular?
Italy and its islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea are located right in the center of the Mediterranean. Renting a yacht in Italy is a great opportunity to explore the incredible 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 can enjoy fantastic food and great shopping.
The coastline, especially the Italian Riviera in the west, offers many beaches and bays perfectly suitable for anchoring. The islands of Italy lie mainly off the west coast of the mainland and all have their own individual character. A favorable climate and the almost absence of tides favor good navigation conditions and there are many interesting possibilities for different navigation itineraries. Italy has a long tradition in shipbuilding and navigation, so boaters benefit from a high frequency of ports. The infrastructure in the charter regions to the north and south to 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 the coast: 7,600 km
Capital of Rome
Main bases for charter flights: Genoa, La Spezia, Piombino, Follonica, Castiglione della Pescaia, Salerno, Sorrento, Tropea, Reggio Calabria. Sardinia: Cagliari, Carloforte, Olbia, Alghero. Sicily: Trapani, Palermo, Portorosa.
Population: approx. 60,675,000
Climate: Temperate, 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 continent, that is, Liguria, Tuscany, Elba, Bay of Naples, Capri, Sardinia and Sicily. The Adriatic coast on the east side is not that attractive for sailing. Possible rental bases are Polignano a Mare, near Bari, the area around the Gargano National Park and the Venetian Lagoon, where you can sail directly past the world-famous Old Town and its impressive buildings.
In the capital of Liguria, Genoa, there is the Porto Antico which contains the largest aquarium in Europe and many other places of interest. From there it is only a short walk to the old town. After approximately 14 nautical miles, you will arrive at the impressive port city of Portofino in its sheltered bay. From here it is approximately 30 nautical miles to La Spezia and on the way you will pass through one of the most picturesque tourist destinations in Italy, a group of five picturesque and colorful seaside towns located in a national park called Cinque Terre. La Spezia is part of the national park and is the second largest city in Liguria. It is conveniently located on a deep gulf surrounded by high hills.
A little further south is the Tuscan archipelago containing the islands of Gorgona, Capraia, Pianosa, Montechristo, Giglio, Gianutri and the largest and most well-known: Elba. There are very good charter bases on the Tuscan mainland to go exploring 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 beautiful large bays and great anchorages. At the southern tip of Tuscany is Puerto San Stefano, a seaside town on a peninsula with a yacht harbor and massive fortress.
Sardinia offers a great mix of exclusive sailing spots and ports like the Costa Smeralda and Porto Cervo, as well as pristine sailing territories like the famous Maddalena archipelago. There are very good ports like Cagliari, Cannigione, La Maddalena, Olbia, Palau and Portisco. Savor the impressive and varied landscape, such as the pink beach of Spiaggia Rosa and the Gulf of Cannigione, which looks like a fjord.
The Bay of Naples and its islands, the Amalfi Coast and the Pontine Islands archipelago offer other brilliant options for yacht charter itineraries. The Amalfi Coast is situated between the charter bases of Sorrento and Salerno. It is a 50km stretch of coastline with very picturesque villages perched on steep rocky cliffs. The cities of Amalfi and Positano are just two examples.
From the mainland you can head to the islands in the Gulf of Naples. The exclusive Capri is the place where the international jet set meets. The main town and port with its high-end boutiques and world-class restaurants are on the north side. However, it is very crowded and expensive. You will find a good anchorage on the south side at Marina Piccola. There are no sandy beaches in Capri, its coastline is quite steep and picturesque. The water is deep, so there are not too many safe anchorages.
Then there is the picturesque and colorful Procida with many beautiful bays and beaches and the nature reserve of the island of Vivara, which is linked to Procida via a bridge.
You can sail to the popular and busy Ischia, which is the largest island in the Gulf of Naples. It is an extinct volcano with a rich landscape, hot thermal springs, large bays and secluded beaches. The three main ports are the port of Ischia, Casamicciola and Forio. The south of the island is greener and wilder with a beautiful coastline and the north is more populated.
Finally head to the Pontine Islands. From Ischia to Santo Stefano, uninhabited and untouched, there are about 22 nautical miles. There it is only allowed to anchor in the North of the island. Visit neighboring island Ventotene and then cross the next 22 nautical miles to the northwestern Pontine Islands, Gavi, Palmarola, Zannone and charming Ponza with its many caves and grottoes. There you will find very well protected anchorages and an interesting rugged coastline.
Very popular for yacht charter holidays is Sicily, of course. Choose from major charter bases like Marsala or Portorosa in the north, from where you can also explore the Aeolian Islands of Lipari, Stromboli, Vulcano, Alicudi, Filicudi, Panarea and Salina. Other possible ports to rent a bareboat yacht in Italy are Messina, Taormina, Catania and Syracuse on the east coast. Reggio Calabria on the mainland is also a very good starting point for renting a sailboat in Sicily.
What weather systems are important for bareboat chartering in Italy?
In Italian waters there are no significant tides. The prevailing winds in summer are from the northwest. The afternoon sea breeze is generally tempering the heat. Long, dry, hot summers create the perfect weather for sailing.
A brief summary of sailing time in Italy with the example of Naples:
Months with the highest average temperature: July/August, 25°
Months with the lowest average temperature: January/February, 9°
Prevailing wind speeds: 3 – 5 Bft.
Month with highest average rainfall: November, 140 mm
Months with the lowest average rainfall: June/July/August, 30 mm each
Months with the highest average sunshine: July/August, 10 hours per day
Month with the 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 it cost to rent a yacht in Italy and what types of rentals are there?
The average price of renting a yacht in Italy is around €3,100 per week but you could rent a 10m sailboat, for example, from around €1,600. The price depends on the size, model and equipment of the rental boat. In Italy it is quite common to rent a RIB (rigid inflatable boat) for an excursion on the water. For a weekly or longer sailing vacation, you can choose to rent a bareboat or skippered boat and choose between renting a sailing or motor boat, respectively, renting a catamaran. Then there is luxury yacht charter, usually with a full crew catering to your individual needs. Flotilla vacations are a popular way to cruise Italian waters. And a day charter can be a way to test if you enjoy life on board.
What other highlights are there in Italy besides sailboat rentals?
Be sure to visit Rome and its incredible ancient sites such as the Forum, the Colosseum and the Pantheon. Other incredibly impressive tourist destinations in the Eternal City are the Vatican and Saint Peter’s Church. Take a seat on the Spanish Steps, admire the Trevi Fountain and soak up the hustle and bustle of the beautiful Piazza Navona and the pedestrian zone with its endless shops, boutiques, cafes and restaurants. This city offers so much that you will simply have to return again and again.
Tuscany is 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 sailboat rental, head a bit further inland to Bologna with its beautiful old town that is nice to look at from the top of the church tower. It has the oldest academic institution in the world, dating back to 1088 AD
Explore Cinque Terre, five stunning villages perched on the steep hills by the sea surrounded by wonderful nature. Manarola, for example, is a very pretty and colorful town.
Between charters, check out Pompeii, near Naples. It was destroyed by Vesuvius in 79 AD and now constitutes a “city frozen in time”.
Visit the city of Amalfi and its cathedral, old shipyards and paper mill, among others.
Drop anchor in Capri and visit the Blue Grotto – the large cave is filled with spectacular blue light from below.
Climb up to Castello d`Ischia, an Aragonese castle built in 1438 and originally dating from 475 BC.
As you cruise the charter yacht through the Aeolian Islands or eastern Sicily, admire the active volcanoes of Stromboli and Mount Etna.
Finally, take a break from sailing to enjoy the stunning scenery in one of Sardinia’s natural parks, such as the Parco Nazionale del Golfo di Orosei e del Gennargentu.