Caribbean Sailing Vacations by Ed Hamilton

Northwestern Italy

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Lucca, Tuscany, ItalyThe part of Italy that connects with the French Riviera is often called the Italian Riviera—a geographic extension of the natural beauty and resort-ready beaches that line France’s Cote d’Azur. Chartering here in northwestern Italy, though, you will see a difference from itineraries in France. This part of Italy is not always as packed with megayachts during the summer months, so you can often find picturesque harbors and villages and enjoy the views from your yacht in absolute solitude.

            Many yacht charters in this part of Italy begin in the city of Genoa, the birthplace of Christopher Columbus where large marinas serve as home ports for countless charter yachts. You can spend several days wandering Genoa’s stone streets before your charter begins, sampling the various forms of pesto that local restaurateurs offer in keeping with the city’s culinary heritage. There is also a large piazza within Tuscany Mansionwalking distance of the main yacht marinas, and it plays host to street festivals all summer long. Not far from there is the city’s aquarium, a spectacular waterfront building full of exhibits for the whole family to enjoy.

            Cruising out of Genoa and heading south along Italy’s coast, you will find a dramatically different pace of life than exists in the bustling city. The small, colorful city of Portofino, for instance, is considered by many yacht charter aficionados to be the most beautiful harbor in all the world—big enough to accommodate large motoryacht charters but small enough to limit the number of yachts that enter at any single time. If you include Portofino on your own charter itinerary, you can rest assured that you will be one of precious few charter yachts in the harbor on any given day.

Lucca            From Portofino, you can head south along Italy’s Cinque Terre region, perhaps stopping to hike along the pristine woodland trails on your way to a swim in one of the refreshing natural harbors. You will also encounter small towns such as Portovenere, where your charter yacht’s chef can head ashore before sunrise to collect freshly baked croissants from the local shops and have them available for you during an onboard breakfast buffet after you make your way up from your cabin. And with your belly full, you’ll be ready to cruise to the island of Elba for historic tours along the streets where no less than Napoleon Bonaparte himself was exiled so many years ago. Please give me details of suitable yachts.

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Photo credits for this page: All pictures taken by Ed Hamilton
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