Summer isn’t still coming. It is still cold and nasty, snowy and white … Brrrr … The sun is trying to shine on but in vain. The blue sky is being hidden by dark grey clouds. “Nice”, a? People in major have only one option under such conditions – to dream of summer and seaside touristy gems, pristine beaches and turquoise crystal water. But if we think a little do we really need such extremely overcrowded seaside spots even in our dreams? Nope. We might visit out-of-the radar seaside places imaginarily far away from the hubbub and crowds that are closer to the sky than the sea. And why couldn’t they be scattered somewhere in Bel Paese?
The Land of Love or just Italy is paradise, blessed by God, that offers ancient ruins and cultural & art treasury, delicious cuisine (mainly of pasta-spaghetti-pizza type 😀 … of course, the nutrition pattern of the Mediterranean diet is widely spread there as well) to travellers, adventurers and sea admirers. Everybody finds a pile of things to enjoy and adore there. So, let me stop and get back to the main topic – the sea (il mio amore grande grande), sky and beautiful and awe-inspiring seaside landscapes stretching from the Italian and Ancient Roman Riviera, reaching the beautiful coasts of Sicily and Sardinia. Yeap … 🙂
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Going back to history, the ancient Romans regarded the Gulf of Naples and Campania as the Riviera greatly preferred by the Roman emperors. It was dotted by rich and extremely beautiful villas in Pompeii and Herculaneum that were buried under 6-metre layers of ash, stone and lava after the eruption of the nearby Mount Vesuvius on August 24, 79 AD. Nowadays, these buried ancient cities are world famous tourist attractions. Apart from it, Campania grants its visitors and locals alike with much more. The Island of Procida is one of the places worth a visit as well as the beautiful Island of Capri. The latter bears its name from herds of goats (capra means a goat in Italian) which inhabited it once upon a time. Despite this, Roman emperors never missed to vacation there. Today’s “tourist emperors” put Neptunia Land on their Bucket List mainly because of the Grotta Azzurra whose hidden opening allows light to retract. Thus it makes the water turn into an amazing shade of sapphire blue.
Are you still in the region of Campania? Why don’t we take a dream-tour to Ravello and Positano on Costiera Amalfitana (Amalfi Coast), then? If you are an artist by nature, you will find the hill-sea town of Ravello the most picturesque town ever. Its Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone will enchant you with their romantic gardens and spectacular views to the crystal azure sea. As to the “pastel-coloured” town of Positano, it is poised on the mountains and faces the blue sea water from above. For sure, it ought to be considered one of the prettiest towns on earth.
The ancient Romans had another preferable Riviera located between Naples and Rome. For instance, Emperor Tiberius enjoyed living in his home in the town of Sperlonga. Today his ex-villa is a museum that attracts tourists and Romans alike with its sculptures commemorating the deeds of Odysseus. Not less amazing are the pristine beaches on Isola di Ponza (Island of Ponza) in the Lazio region as well. The island is thought be what has remained from the lost island of Tyrrhenia. Just a few words about this land lost in the sea. Like the phenomenon that happened at Capri, Ponza sank into the sea, before that having been connected to the mainland through a tiny and narrow strip. Today what is left from the lost island of Tyrrhenia is within an easy reach and a lovely place for summer holiday-makers.
What pops up into your mind when you think about Tuscany? Of course …. Gusto and passion, Apollo’s trees, breath-taking views of Tuscany from above, a dive in the cradle of the Renaissance and the Renaissance paintings codes and cultural heritage of the House of Medici … and why not to have the chance to eat a Tiramisù and watch il Palio like a true Medici? 😉 Apart from all this, the region of Tuscany has a coastline, too. Its true seaside gem is Porto Ercole that is located halfway between Florence and the Italian capital. Port Hercules is an amazing settlement that is also famous for being the final resting place of great painter Caravaggio who died in the small town on his return from Rome where he searched for a pardon after having been exiled.
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Tuscany borders with the Italian Riviera that stretches from Capo Corvo at the Gulf of La Spezia to the ex-customs post near Ventimiglia, thus touching Côte d’Azur (or the French Riviera). For sure, Liguria has two distinctive postcard seaside places that nobody can ever mistake. Have you heard of Portofino? Surely, you have. And what do you associate it with? Exactly … with La dolce vita 🙂 And … have you stumbled upon information on Cinque Terre (The Five lands). No?!?! You are not right. These are five villages (Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore) that are extremely picturesque and vivid. They are unique because they were built on black rocks and colourful buildings lean down to small marinas. All of them five are interconnected through stepped vineyards and olive gardens around the hillsides.
Continuiamo? Veneto has its pearl – La Serenissima. But there is another marvelous place (among many others) that is worth a visit. It’s the first bathing resort in Europe created in 1800s. The neighbouring region of Emilia-Romagna is proud of its two giant beach cities – Rimini and Ravenna, which attract thousands of party-goers and holiday-makers annually. While Numana in Marche is as beautiful as they are but more tranquil and quieter, or in other words said, it is an off-the-beaten-path resort at the Adriatic Sea. Last but not least, Otranto and Santa Cesarea Terme in Puglia are two other summer vacation spots that should be mentioned. The first one is the successor of the Hellenic village of Hydruntum. The town is the godfather of the Strait of Otranto connecting the two seas – the Adriatic and Ionian. The seaside settlement could give you the chance to see the shores of Albania on a clear day. As far as the second village is concerned, the only words that would describe it briefly are: “idyllic paradise with crystal clear water and pristine beaches”.
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Sicily has a very special coastal city on its eastern shores. It is called Acireale and it is special as its beaches were formed by the Etna Mount. They are not ordinary sandy beaches but made of stone. There is no doubt they are not suitable for sunbathing but they are unique because if you want to swim you ought to climb down the ladders hung from the top of the rocks and after that dive into the sea. Lampedusa is one of the Pelagie islands in the Mediterranean Sea. It belongs to Italy and its proximity to Africa and Tunisia, in particular, is great. The distance is only 113km. And finally, the Islands of Favignana and Levanzo are the largest and smallest islands, respectively, part of the archipelago of the Aegadian Islands. They are mountainous islands Mediterranean Sea whose landscape is dotted white houses that are in contrast to the turquoise sea waters.
And finally, the jewel of the crown is the Island of Sardinia with its dazzling and clear beaches, alluring azure waters, history and culture. There is no doubt we should start with the capital – Cagliari, which has it all. The historic part of “Casteddu” (or “The Castle”), as the major city of the island is called by the locals, is situated on the hilltop. Once you climb up to Il Castello you will be fascinated with the glorious panoramic birds’ eye views to the city and sea. Then you might have a lovely stroll along the tiny cobblestone streets reaching the Bastione San Remy as well as Piazza Indipendenza. Later, if you wanna sunbathe, have a picnic under umbrellas and have a flaming-watch, your place will be the Poetto Beach. Now let’s move to the north to Stintino, Alghero and La Maddalena. Stintino’s pearl is La Pelosa Beach with white sand and crystal-clear water. Alghero is the only place in the country where Catalan dialect has still been spoken due to the Catalan colonist presence there. Apart from this, the fortified village has amazing beaches as well as it offers short sea tours to the Grotta di Nettuno which possesses calm pools, stalactites and stalagmites. As to the locals, they are lovely and friendly people. La Maddalena archipelago is situated just 2km off the Sardinian shore to the north (between Sardinia and French Corsica). It comprises seven main islands and a great number of smaller islets. The largest island bears the same name and its distinctive features are the rocky outcroppings, the Italianate architecture, colourful yellow-orange buildings tiny and pretty streets and beautiful piazzas. As for the Caprera Island, it’s famous for being the last resting place of great revolutionary Guiseppe Garibaldi, and his tomb has still been housed there.
Have you already waken up? If you have, don’t stop day-dreaming of the warmth and coziness of the Italian seaside spots because they really exist and are worth a visit. Current cold weather will be overcome by il mare, il sole and il Bel Paese. 🙂