From the Italian Riviera to the farthest reaches of Sicily, there are a myriad of seaside villages for travelers seeking beaches, ancient ruins, art, culture, seafood and pastas made with the freshest ingredients of each area. Surrounded on 3 of its 4 sides by water, the Ligurian sea on the northwest, the Tyrrhenian sea on the west, the Ionic in the south and the Adriatic to the east, it’s no wonder there are places to suit everyone’s pleasure and budget. With the sea any direction Italians themselves head for the coast to leave the rigors of city life behind if even for a few sybaritic days in some of the most alluring resort areas imaginable. There are too many locales to name them all so below you’ll find some of the most popular.
Because of our nearly four decades of personal and professional partnerships with Italian providers, we are able to not only offer our clients premium value for these indelible Italian Sea Coast experiences but also the opportunity to savor them in a highly personalized luxury manner. Whether you are a budget minded traveler or one with Platinum travel tastes, let Endless Beginnings create a luxury custom journey to fulfill your dreams.
A boomerang shaped strip of land lining the Mediterranean sea from France past Genoa and down to the Tuscan border, the Italian Riviera has a mild climate where an eternal spring produces blossoms year round. In the 19th century travelers from colder climes flocked to villas along this coastline to escape the ravages of winter and enlighten their spirits. Nothing has changed! The Riviera di Levante, the portion south of Genoa, is the destination most vacationers favor with towns like Portofino a haven for the well heeled where super yachts tie up for the day to shop, Rapallo and Santa Margherita Ligure, towns which serve as delightful bases for exploration of this Ligurian coast and the Cinque Terre. Wafting around corners throughout this province is the ever present aromas of garlic and basil in Liguria’s most famous dish, pesto. Naturally bounded by water on half of its territory this is a region of fishermen and the rich bounty they bring up out of the sea that you find on every restaurant table. And the steep slopes above the Cinque Terre produce a white wine perfectly suited for the cuisine. Lastly a trip to the Cinque Terre offers hikes along its trails above the 5 villages, tiny restaurants and guesthouse accommodations, many in private homes for the advernturous who want a meet the people experience. Of the towns Vernazza is especially charming while Monterosso is larger and has a sandy beach. Once unknown as an off the beaten path destination, the Cinque Terre is now in everyone’s lexicon and during the summer is especially crowded making spring and fall better times to visit.
Most Americans are not so familiar with the beach towns of this area but they offer broad sandy beaches, some exceptional hotels particularly in Rimini, Cesenatico, and Milano Marittima. In an area made famous by Federico Fellini who was from Rimini, these resorts are generally family oriented and the tiny towns, especially Riccione, have shopping sporting famous names in exclusive shops. Most of the larger hotels have both indoor and outdoor swimming pools as well as full service spas.
With long stretches of sandy beaches, Tuscany offers the first real opportunity for a beach vacation on the western shore of the Tyrrhenian sea in central Italy. Elegant seaside town of Forte dei Marmi, surrounded by umbrella pines with 5* resort hotels and beach clubs, Michelin starred restaurants with Ferraris in the parking lots, beckon captains of industry and aristocrats to seaside villas for a holiday. Further down the coast at Porto Ercole or Porto Santo Stefano, jumping off point for the island of Giglio, are yacht harbors, rocky beaches with sunning platforms and top flight hotels and restaurants for a sybaritic holiday. Families especially appreciate the beaches and accommodations of Castiglione della Pescaia which is just south of big name wine producers at Bolgheri and the Maremma coast where the Tuscan cowboys herd cattle along isolated beaches. Beach holidays along the Tuscan coast are less crowded that more popular areas to the north or south.
Legend tells of Hercules who fell in love with the nymph Amalfi, who when she died, was buried in a most beautiful place, naming the region in her honor. Endless Beginnings’ travelers to the Amalfi Coast are immersed in the romantic atmosphere of this magical stretch of coast, dotted with hillside villages perched on rocky cliffs high above the Mediterranean Sea. From the northernmost town, Sorrento, down to Vietri-sul-Mare, the Nastro Azzuro highway rising over the land’s crest is one of the most beautiful, if harrowing, drives in the world. Drive along the Amalfi Drive to discover little towns set among fragrant lemon, chestnut and olive groves, and enjoy the mouthwatering local cuisine including grilled buffalo mozzarella in lemon leaves, limoncello, pastries and pasta with clam sauce. Or explore the coast by ferry or a high speed traditional boat to admire its beauty from the water.
If your intent in this area is to do a lot of touring, then Sorrento is a wise choice as Pompeii, Herculaneum, Capri, Ischia, Naples and even the towns further along the Amalfi coast are possible to visit on day trips. There is also a greater choice and variation in hotels, many in the Belle Epoque style, as the city is larger making it ideal for those who want to see it all. There is regular ferry service to the islands, Naples and even up the coast as well as a private train system running to and from Naples with stops in both Pompeii and Herculaneum. Stroll the cobblestone streets and purchase cameos carved from seashells and coral, lace, and skillfully embroidered table linens.
Of Positano John Steinbeck once said, "Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn't quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone”. Set into the cliffs the pastel houses climb to the top of very steep streets where the walks up require a good rubber soled espadrille to make the climb. Some of Italy’s finest hotels are found in chic Positano as well as Michelin dining or exceptionally good seafood. Boutiques abound selling sandals, bikinis, linen clothing and anything else that a sun seeker might want. Restaurants in the evening are lively with views overlooking the moonlit sea. If you’re looking for heaven on earth, it’s here in Positano!
See the town of Amalfi, with its small square lined with pastry and gelato shops and excellent restaurants. Its cathedral gives a hint to the town’s history when it was a sea power equal to that of Venice, when as a maritime republic its trade routes extended as far as Constantinople. It’s a quieter place now and a ferry hub for getting to Capri or Positano.
In lovely Ravello, high above Amalfi on the cliffs, visit the patrician villas of Villa Cimbrone and Villa Rufolo where Wagner penned Parsifal. There are two world class hotels there just to capitalize on the panoramic views that will pamper even the most particular guest. Continuing down the coast are tiny towns of Minori, Maiori which have an esplanade but no beach, and Vietri-sul-Mare, pottery capital of the region of Campania where you can buy intricately patterned, colorful ceramics you see thought out the area.
Day excursions from Sorrento or Naples include the islands of Ischia the largest and quieter where hotels mud spas and picturesque tiny towns like Sant’ Angelo inspire travelers to linger a day or two. Or Capri the chicest to stroll around the flower-filled narrow lanes, visit splendid villas including the ruins of Emperor Tiberius’ Villa Jovis and Villa Malaparte, a Modernist villa in Pompeian red, explore the Carthusian Monastery, shop for designer wares in Anacapri or ride the chair lift up Monte Solaro to enjoy the sweeping vistas across the Bay of Naples.
While overlooked for years, Puglia has really come into its own over the last 15 years with fabulous hotels, many made from former estates, most with beach access or beach clubs and spas. The food in Puglia is true Mediterranean diet, much of it freshly grown on the land behind the hotels, and freshly caught seafood. This is Italy of another time with unique towns like Alberobello with its conical houses, Lecce the Baroque “Florence” of the south, tiny but beautiful Polignano al Mare where the cliffs rise out of the sea and are topped with white washed houses. Not only is the food superb but the wines are as good as any in Italy as many of the vintners from the north have traveled south to plant and produce. In a region that is surrounded by the sea for the majority of its land, you will always find a place in the sand. The Gargano peninsula, Santa Maria di Leuca, Otranto, Gallipoli, Torre Canne up to Bari, this is a region where you can decide which kind of holiday you want, surf and sand or countryside, never far from the sea. Plan to stay at least a week or longer for you won’t want to leave once you’ve discovered this beautiful land.
Sardinia has been a yachtsman paradise since the Aga Khan founded the resorts around Olbia and the Costa Smeralda. Some of Europe’s most pristine seas surround Sardinia and it abounds with natural preserves. The island is connected to the Italian mainland by both flights and ferries and the hotels, some often remote for pure relaxation, offer spas, meal plans and excursions to islands off shore.
If you want Greek temples and Roman ruins served up with your beach holiday, then Sicily is a one of a kind destination which has delicious food and wine to round out your holiday. From elegant Taormina on the eastern coast with its beach front hotels or elegant hotels up in town above it all you can make an excursion to Mt. Etna, down to Siracusa for the archeological sites or take a ferry from Milazzo to the tiny off shore Aeolian islands.
Forte dei Marmi
Forte dei Marmi
Monteross Cinque Terre