Why You Should Escape to Italy’s Enchanting Islands
With pandemic conditions finally beginning to lift, you’re probably itching for every different kind of vacation: Maybe you want to lay on a beach, but you also want to immerse yourself in a unique culture. You want to relax at a spa, but you also want to explore natural wonders. You want to engage history, but you also want to eat delicious food and sip fantastic wine. However, with pent-up demand for world travel exploding, you don’t want to find yourself in a crowded tourist destination.
If this sounds like you, look no further than Italy’s enchanting islands in the Mediterranean, Tyrrhenian, and Adriatic seas. These islands—some of which may be familiar to you, and others of which are little-known—are chock-full of Italy’s prettiest and most private landscapes.
Indeed, it may surprise you to know that Italy has more than 350 idyllic islands off the coast of the mainland, where Italians themselves flock for quiet summer getaways. The islands range from easily accessible to quite remote, from chic and fashionable to relaxed and rustic. In other words, there’s an island fit for nearly every traveler’s imagination of their own idyllic escape.
Keep reading for more information on some of the dreamiest Italian island destinations.
Part of the Campanian archipelago in the Tyrrhenian sea, Capri is the most fashionable of the Italian islands, the top destination for the international jet set. That’s probably because it’s a luxurious, indulgent, and magical place in which to escape the everyday. The early and late summer months are the best times to visit due to smaller crowds. While there, don’t miss swimming through the Grotto Azzurra, Italian for Blue Grotto, describing the saturated color of the island waters. Perhaps after your swim, the scent of fragrant lemon trees will have you wanting to sip a glass of limoncello, a specialty liqueur in Capri. Then you might take the solo open-air chairlift up to Monte Solaro, the summit of Capri’s mountain, for stunning views of the island, the Bay of Naples, and the Amalfi Coast.
The second largest Italian island after well-known Sicily, smack dab in the middle of the Mediterranean, is Sardinia, home to a variety of landscapes due to its generous size. Sardinia is a fun and surprising island best avoided in summer and fall when storms are likely. Here, along with the Italian islands’ trademark white sand beaches and shimmering turquoise waters, you’ll find other natural wonders, like Gola di Gorropu, the largest canyon in Europe, and the Dunes of Piscinas, sand dunes more than 200 feet high. Sardinia is rich in historical treasures, too, from the Su Nuraxi di Barumini, a defensive structure from the Bronze Age, to the Monte d’Accoddi, an important Neolithic religious site.
Closer to the North African nation of Tunisia than to the Italian island of Sicily, Pantelleria is a small and remote island that embodies its evolution from the Bronze Age through Arab conquest through incorporation into the Italian kingdom. Lucky for travelers, this island composed of black lava rock remains rich in volcanic activity, offering steaming fumaroles, mud baths, and natural saunas, such as the Grotta del Bagno Asciutto. Traditionally home to chic, reclusive celebrities such as Truman Capote, Giorgio Armani, and Sting, Pantellerian homes, known as dammusi, are made of iconic white-washed lava in the Arab style, with domed roofs and thick walls to keep them cool. While there, don’t miss Pantelleria’s world-renowned capers and Passito di Pantelleria, a sweet honey wine made from zibibbo grapes.
A brief drive and ferry ride from Rome, Ponza nonetheless has an otherworldly feel indicative of its prominent place in ancient myths and legends. It is the largest of the Pontine Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea between Rome and Naples, filled with small, charming villages full of brightly-painted homes that overlook gorgeous harbors. That the island is little-known by those beyond Rome means that you won’t find many international tourists here. Indeed, this rustic, homey isle isn’t overly fancy, featuring many bed-and-breakfasts and rentable gommone, dinghies perfect for exploring hidden bays, secret coves, and pristine beaches. Regarding the latter, don’t miss Spiaggia di Frontone, a clearwater beach framed by the rocks characteristic of Ponza’s steep cliffs.
Just a few miles and a short ferry ride from the Tuscan coast lies Elba, the largest island in the Tuscan archipelago made famous by Napoleon’s exile there from 1814 to 1815. Travelers looking for a vacation that features a bit of everything won’t want to miss its natural, historical, and cultural wonders. After visiting the stunning beach known as Biodola, tour Napoleon’s villas or the Puna delle Grotte, a Roman villa dating from the first century B.C. For great sightseeing, ride the cable car from Marciana Alta to the top of Monte Capanne, where you can see all the way to Corsica. The adventurous will find no shortage of options for mountain biking, hiking, and underwater exploration on this dynamic isle.
If dreaming of the Italian islands has you eager to design your own idyllic vacation, drop me a line so that we can get started planning today. As the Italians would say, “Andiamo alle isole,” or “Let’s go to the islands!” Wherever your travels take you, I’m wishing you all of the enchantment and charm of the Italian isles.
You can book hotels or resorts directly on my link below and still lock in extra Vivo Travel Design amenities such as complimentary breakfast and resort credit as well as room upgrades and early check-in / late check-out when available. As always, I am here to assist if you would rather have me arrange your stay for you.