The 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 Mansion walking 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 the precious few charter yachts in the harbor on any given day.
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.
Southwestern Italy & The Amalfi Coast
The entirety of the Amalfi Coast, as this 30-mile stretch of southwestern mainland Italy is known, has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its stunning natural beauty. It’s something to see by yacht charter even if you never step foot onshore—but of course, the great thing about yacht charter is that you get to view the coast from a distance as well as up close and in person. The three main towns that attract charter yachts in this area are Positano, Amalfi and Ravello.
Positano was not a major tourist destination until the 1950s, when author John Steinbeck wrote about the former fishing village for Harper’s Bazaar magazine. You may also recognize it from the popular movie Under the Tuscan Sun, part of which was filmed in and around Positano’s picturesque harbor. Today, the town is one of Italy’s main coastal hotspots, the St. Tropez of The Amalfi Coastsouth, if you will, boasting top-dollar restaurants and hotels. You can enjoy what you like of them before retiring to your private yacht each night to watch the harbor lights dance along with the local visitors.
In the town of Amalfi, you’ll likely be as impressed by the scenery as the manmade offerings. The harbor where your yacht will enter is actually part of a deep ravine with spectacular cliffs climbing around it—and colorful shops and houses climbing up along the cliff sides themselves. You can enjoy the scenery while sitting on your yacht’s private deck and sipping on a cocktail made with Limoncello, a lemon liqueur that is produced in the area (and, ironically, contains absolutely no lemon juice).
Ravello has long been a haven for writers, artists and musicians, and every summer the town hosts a two-month-long festival that showcases everything from photography to orchestral music. Now known as the Ravello Festival, the annual event previously was called the Wagner Festival in honor of German composer Richard Wagner, who once visited the town.
The town of Ravello also is a lovely place to hold a wedding or renew your Catholic ceremony vows during a charter, particularly inside the Duomo, a sculpted white marble building with a jaw-dropping presence both inside and out.
Corsica and Sardinia
These two Western Mediterranean islands are often included in the same yacht charter itineraries even though one is part of France and the other is part of Italy. That’s because French Corsica sits just above Italian Sardinia on a map, much like buttons on a shirt. Their proximity to each other, though, has not diminished the unique culture that each of these islands offers to charter guests who enter their many picturesque harbors. You simply can’t visit one of these two islands without wanting to visit the other.
Corsica is so enchanting that it goes by two nicknames: “The Island of Beauty” and “The Scented Isle.” It draws the eye as much as the soul from charter yachts that cruise to Corsica, thanks to some 200 beaches that are part of more than 600 miles of shoreline. There are mountains inland, too, and they make for a stunning backdrop as your charter yacht approaches the islands or “poses” for photos just offshore while you cool off with a swim. Natural beauty is one of Corsica’s main selling points for tourists, so the islanders protect it by keeping the coast Fruit stand, Corsicamore pristine than mainland cities that have become virtually overrun by sprawling resorts.
Sardinia is the Mediterranean’s second-largest island, right behind its Italian sister Sicily to the south. As with Corsica to the north, Sardinia is replete with natural beauty including beaches that have long drawn tourists from mainland Europe each summer. Sardinia has also historically been something of a hotspot destination for top-dollar megayachts whose charter guests want to enjoy more pristine natural scenery than mainland France and Italy can offer. Hence the upscale restaurants and shops you will find in many of Sardinia’s towns, which flourish continually with an ambiance that appeals to everyday visitors and millionaires alike.
Corsica and Sardinia are separated by the Strait of Bonifacio, which is about seven miles wide. Its beauty is also legendary, but its wind The Moorings bareboat charter base, Corsica and waves can be treacherous at certain times, even during the popular charter months of July and August. If seeing the Strait of Bonifacio is something you would like to do during your yacht charter, then our experts can help you organize an itinerary that will allow your captain to get into the Strait at various times over the course of multiple days, taking advantage of the best weather possible to keep you safe and secure onboard your private yacht.