At Essential Sailing, we love the history, culture and cuisine of the places we visit almost as much as the sailing to get there. Our Captain’s Blog brings you a taste of what to expect from our luxury crewed sailing holidays around the French and Italian Riviera. In this blog we discover the charming seaside villages of Italy.

Sit back and be inspired.

Italy has some of the most picturesque coastline with a smattering of beautiful hidden locations nestled among the coastal mountains, tiny fishing ports and small historical resorts that cater for tourists but maintain their charm. These are ten of the most charming seaside villages the Italian Riviera has to offer:

Positano – this little gem lies nestled in the mountains that tower above the sea on the Amalfi Coast. The pastel painted houses create a palette of colour against the silvery pebble beach and the backdrop of the Monti Lattari. The village has one street and several sets of steep stairways that are just perfect to explore.

Manarola – is one of five towns that make up the Cinque Terre on the Riviera of Italy. Looking over the picturesque marina are pretty coloured buildings, built on a black rock foundation. There are vineyards around the hills and some beautiful views along the many paths and trails leading from the town and harbour.

Portofino – is a beautifully picturesque fishing village popular with celebrities with brightly coloured houses that stretch along the shoreline. There are several little streets that lead up from the harbour just waiting to be explored with some souvenir shops, boutiques and restaurants. It also has a marina where you can watch the yachts coming and going, art galleries and other places of historical interest.

Vernazza – is a true fishing village which has no access for car traffic. It is another of the towns that make up the Cinque Terra and is located between a cliff and the sea and is part of the National Park of the Cinque Terra and a World Heritage Site. The residents continue to carry on old traditions of fishing, olive oil production and wine making namely Vernaccia which means “ours.”

Atrani – this romantic town is located just a few minutes away from Amalfi and is the smallest community in the whole of Italy. It features several antique charms including houses with flowered balconies and a passageway that was created to protect the boats from storms. It is a fishing town where the houses climb up the side of the valley intermingled with beautiful gardens and lemon groves.

Sorrento – is a popular destination for tourists that overlooks the Bay of Naples. It is famous for Limoncello an alcoholic drink made with lemon rinds and sugar. Although there is no beach, it is a picturesque old town which has some great specialist shops including ceramics, lace and souvenirs. Sorrento is nestled between cliffs and surrounded by beautiful countryside.

Taormina – the atmosphere in Taormina is described as magical and enchanting. It is nestled on the Monte Tauro hill with views over two bays, Mount Etna and views for over a hundred miles of Mediterranean Sea. There is a lovely blend of historical tradition, charming ambiance and culture making Taormina one of the top tourist destinations in the world.

Tropea – this little town is located on the edge of cliffs along a stretch on the Tyrrhenian Sea in the Calabria region. Many of the pretty, brightly coloured buildings are flush with the cliff-side and overlook the beautiful beaches and crystal clear turquoise water with staircases that lead down to the shimmering white sands. The views are spectacular with the blend of the house colours and roof tiles set against the backdrop of rising mountains.

Riomaggiore – is a small village which dates back to the early 13th Century, lying in a small valley in the Liguria region. The houses around the small harbour look like they are stacked on top of each other in towers and are painted beautiful colours. The waters are crystal clear and serene and this village also forms part of the Cinque Terre with incredible views especially at twilight.

Monterosso al Mare – another little ancient treasure in the Cinque Terre of Italy. This small town is divided into two parts the old and the new which are divided by a tunnel which allows passage of pedestrians and cars between the two parts. This region is famous for its lemon groves, white wine, grapes and olives.

Richard Reeves is the founder of Essential Sailing and if you have been inspired to relax on a luxury sailing holiday, why not make this idyllic world your reality.

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