Yacht Itinerary for Italy / Italian Riviera
Why choose the Italian Riviera cruising grounds?
A luxury yacht charter itinerary in the Italian Riviera can be done on its own or added as an extension of other highly desirable charter locations within the region such as the French Riviera, Corsica, or even down to Rome and the Amalfi Coast. What makes the region so enticing is the brightly-hued villages of Cinque Terre beside crystal clear waters, ostentatious palaces, Roman and Greek ruins, numerous vineyards for food and wine connoisseurs and clement year-round weather that means even in off-peak months your choice of beaches and water sports activities will be minimally impacted.
Art, history and cuisine are at once both familiar and foreign, undiluted for an international audience and bursting with flavour from freshly sourced local ingredients. Shop among landmarks such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, or dive down 17m/55ft to the Christ of the Abyss. Away from civilisation, tranquil coves and sandy beaches ensure that you have quality time with family and friends playing and snoozing in the sunshine before partying by moonlight.
The following itinerary is just one example of what can be done in the region, and your experienced captain will be able to give alternatives and react to weather conditions on the day.
Day 1: Genoa
Whether beginning or ending your Italy yacht charter in Genoa, there is plenty to see and do on land before you board and cruise on to the spectacular coves and beaches on the way to Portofino. Begin your day with a spot of luxury shopping, then savour a Michelin-starred meal at The Cook close to the harbour before heading off to the cultural sites surrounding Piazza de Ferrari or Via Garibaldi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its incredible 16th Century palaces and residences, some of which have been turned into world-class museums and galleries. Follow the scenic coast around to Punta Chiappa for an afternoon swim, or instead head straight to the Protected Marine Area of Porto Fino, where you will find the quiet Cala dell'Oro for water sports or incredible views with a hike to the top of the peak. The next bay along is famous for the Christ of the Abyss, which lies 17m/55ft underwater and can be seen easily through the crystal clear waters by snorkelers as well as divers. While in the area, the Tore Doria is a 10th Century Abbey and museum describing its usage throughout history. If you fancy something to eat before you board your superyacht, there are several restaurants to choose from with atmospheric surroundings ideal for a romantic sunset meal.
Location highlights: Vascello Neptune, Doge's Palace, Piazza de Ferrari, Museo Diocesano, Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, The Cook Restaurant, Cala dell'Oro, Tore Doria and Christ of the Abyss
Day 2: Portofino
There are a number of picturesque caves and coves within the cliffs as you cruise down to Portofino. Visit the solitary lighthouse on the cape and take in the views from the lounge bar open from late morning to late evening, or immerse yourself in the laid-back atmosphere that the town has to offer.
Louis Vuitton, Loro Piana and Harmont & Blaine are just some of the choice luxury shopping options available in addition to numerous local galleries showcasing the talents of local artists, and the colourful streets give you a taste of what is to come at the marvellous Cinque Terre UNESCO World Heritage Site farther along the coast.
Local cultural attractions include Castello Brown, which sits upon the hilltop overlooking the town and showcases art and antiques as well as hosting events throughout the year. Chiesa di San Martino and the old Town Hall add to the beauty of Portofino and are worth discovering on a stroll before you leave for Cinque Terre.
Location highlights: Castello Brown, Chiesa di San Martino
Day 3: Cinque Terre
Foot traffic and boat is the only way to access one village to the next in Cinque Terre, restricting the number of visitors to these charming multi-coloured settlements comprised of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. Some luxury yacht charter groups are determined to see every one of the five villages, whereas others might be content to visit one or two of these destinations and view the rest from above deck. Below gives a sample of what each place has to offer.
As you cruise from Portofino there are plenty of rocky bays along the way for snorkelling, kayaking and motorised water sports before you reach the beautiful Monterosso al Mare. Rest on the soft sandy beaches, savour a cocktail from the local bar or visit the local wineries to taste local flavours. Vernazza has beautiful blue water in its port in addition to man-made attractions including Santa Margherita di Antiochia Church, Castello Doria.
The sandy beaches between Vernazza and Corniglia are an excellent chance for a break and lunch prepared by your expert on board chef, before taking in Chiesa Di San Pietro and the shops around the village square.
Manarola is beautiful to photograph or paint from your luxury yacht, and on land there are numerous sights up close that will also grab your attention: Walk through the winding streets and taste the authentic flavours of Italy in the freshly caught and prepared sea food, coffee and gelato ice cream, then dance the night away in the bars and clubs. Alternatively, host your own party on your luxury yacht sundeck as the surrounding terraced hills take on a golden hue at sunset.
As you follow the rocky coast down to Riomaggiore, be sure to stop off at the beaches and make use of your water toys collection. The clear blue waters are great for beginner swimmers, snorkelers and Scuba divers to practise their skills before drying off on deck as you cruise on to the last of the Cinque Terre villages. The castle on the hilltop will draw your attention as you approach, and you will encounter friendly locals as you tour the cathedrals and dine in one of the many choice restaurants or cafes along the main street. The beach to the south east provides one more spot for your group to sunbathe and play beach games before a perfect night's rest in your own private cabin.
Location highlights: Church of San Giovanni Battista, Santa Margherita di Antiochia Church, Castello Doria, Chiesa Di San Pietro, Castello di Riomaggiore, Riomaggiore Beach
Day 4: Porto Venere and Palmaria
South of the Cinque Terre villages is a whole other world to discover in the nature reserve where islands Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto are a quiet place to unwind with sunset walks or afternoons paddle-boarding along the shores.
On Tinetto stand the ruins of a castle and the grotto is a popular place to visit by boat in the summertime. Catch a glimpse of Statue Stella Maris on the way back to Porto Venere for cultural sights such as the Church of Saint Peter and the ancient roman villa where olive oil was made, then mingle with the bustling nightlife.
Location highlights: Church of Saint Peter, Church of Saint Lawrence, Grotta di Lord Byron, Castello Doria, Villa Romana del Varignano Vecchio, Grotta del Tinetto
Day 5: Forte dei Marmi and Livorno
There's something for everyone in Forte dei Marmi, where soft sandy beach arcs along the coast at the verdant Apuan Alps loom in the distance. Between these two natural beauties is a city replete with statues and bespoke shopping opportunities along its clean and wide streets. A cluster of Michelin-starred restaurants can be found along the beach and include La Magnolia, Lux Lucis, Bistrot and Lorenzo.
Livorno has just as much culture to discover as the more famous Pisa and Florence nearby, and a visit to the museums to escape the hot midday sun will give an impressive insight into life and art right back to the Neolithic era. Head to Via Grande for shopping and holiday souvenirs, then end the day with a sunset wine tasting session on Terrazza Mascagni.
Location highlights: Forte dei Marmi: Pontile di Forte dei Marmi, Twiga Beach Club, Nikki Beach Versilia, La Magnolia Restaurant, Lux Lucis Restaurant, Bistrot Restaurant and Lorenzo Restaurant
Livorno: Terrazza Mascagni, Museo Civico Giovanni Fattori, Museo della citta
Day 6: Livorno, Pisa and Florence
Extend your stay in Livorno to take a trip inland and see some of Italy's most famous landmarks and world renowned paintings and sculptures - In Pisa visit its famous leaning tower, the Piazza del Duomo and the Cattedrale di Pisa followed by a refreshing drink or ice cream from one of the local cafes in the scenic square. Head further inland to see in person Michelangelo's Statue of David at Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence, the Renaissance masterpieces of Botticelli and da Vinci at the Uffizi Galleries, and the towering Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore. Visitors will also be enchanted by the waterways and ancient streets, and a trip through the countryside wouldn't be complete without sampling what the local vineyards have to offer.
Pisa: Leaning Tower of Pisa, Piazza del Duomo, Cattedrale di Pisa
Florence: Galleria dell’Accademia, Uffizi Galleries, Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore
Day 7-8: The Tuscan Archipelago - Capraia & Elba
The Tuscan Archipelago has status as a National Park and the islands are blessedly free of en-masse tourism, leaving you to explore at will. When you want to escape from it all, Capraia is ready and waiting for you among the crystal clear azure waters near Corsica, another desirable location for a luxury yacht charter. The secluded coves are only accessible by boat and the nearby caves give plenty of reason for you to get out the kayaks, windsurfers or jet skis and discover their beauty. Cala della Mortola and Punta della Teglia to the north as well as Cala Rossa and Cala del Ceppo and Lo Scoglione to the south are some of the possible destinations to take your group for a swim and sunset meal in this serene seascape.
Elba is also a paradise for those looking to surround themselves in nature on land or in the water: The island has plenty of hiking and bicycle trails that pass by ruins and beautiful vistas, while the winding coastline is excellent for kayaking, paddle-boarding and snorkelling. Underwater there are plenty of sites for beginner Scuba divers as well as the more experienced, with species to spot including starfish, octopus and nudibranchs hidden amongst gorgonians and seaweed beds.
Visit the place that Napoleon was exiled to on Elba and learn more about his stay in the museum at Villa de San Martino and Palazzina dei Mulini, while children will love the labyrinthine walls of nearby Forte Falcone. While on land, savour a traditional meal at Scaraboci or Capo Nord, or head to the west to find a great choice of private beaches for a romantic candlelit meal under the stars.
Capraia: Cala della Mortola, Punta della Teglia, Cala Rossa and Cala del Ceppo and Lo Scoglione, Tower Barbici
Santo Stefano Elba: Villa de San Martino, Palazzina dei Mulini, Forte Falcone, Bastioni Medicei, Spiaggia della Lamaia, Cala Della Cotaccia, Scaraboci Restaurant, Capo Nord Restaurant
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