Italy - Profile
- Italy has well over 5000 miles of coastline, surrounded by the Tyrrhenian, Adriatic, Ligurian, Ionian and Mediterranean Seas.
- The west coast can be extremely crowded in the summer, especially in the north. July and August are the months to avoid, but in the spring and autumn the coasts are more peaceful and the weather can be very pleasant. During summer weekends, booking ahead for a berth is essential.
- Once the undisputed domain of power boating, many Italians have now discovered the beauty of sailing and to cope with this insatiable demand many marinas have been built, particularly along the Italian Riviera. South of Rome sailing yachts are not so common.
- The east coast of Italy has been less endowed by nature and is less popular for cruising, even the local sailors often preferring to cruise in neighbouring Croatia.
- Italy's best cruising spots are spread around the rim of the Tyrrhenian Sea where groups of islands alternate with attractive harbours on the mainland. Some of the most picturesque anchorages are on Sardinia, while close to the Straits of Messina one can either anchor in the shadow of Stromboli or within sight of Mount Etna.
- The proximity of ports or marinas to all tourist attractions makes it easy to visit the main points of interest without leaving the boat for more than a few hours.
- With a large resident boating population and also a considerable boat-building industry of its own, yachting facilities in Italy are of a very high standard. Purpose-built marinas or docks for yachts are available almost everywhere and the only deterrent can be the high docking fees charged in some places, some of the highest being those at Porto Cervo in Sardinia.
- The best repair facilities are in the north-west of the country where most marinas are concentrated. There are boatyards all around Italy's coasts and for any repair or haul-out one is never too far away from help. Marine supplies and spares, particularly more common makes of diesel engines or outboards, are widely available, although everything is found more easily in the north. Essential spares that are not available locally can be imported free of duty.
- Fuel and water are available in most ports and LPG containers can also be filled in most places although an adaptor may be necessary. Provisioning is good everywhere and most towns have a fresh produce market with a wide selection of fruit and vegetables. Because of the mild winters in the south of the country, fresh produce is available all year round.
- If cruising the waters bordered by southern Sicily, Malta, Tunisia and Libya, be aware that because of an influx of migrants attempting to leave from Northern Africa there is an increase in Navy patrols in this area and the danger of small unlit craft carrying passengers.
The usual safety and security precautions should be taken to protect equipment and dinghies and prevent access to the boat when absent.
Some years ago, Noonsite received several reports of yachts either attacked or threatened in the port of Saline Ioniche in the Strait of Messina. Yachts are advised to take care when in this port.
The climate varies from north to south and between the islands. The north can have cold winters, while the south can be extremely hot in summer. Generally the coastal areas have a Mediterranean climate. The summers are hot and dry along the coast. The prevailing winds of summer are NW, although in many areas there is a daily pattern combining land and sea breezes.
It is worth noting that there has been a trend, in recent years, for the Ligurian Sea (north of the island of Corsica) to experience severe storms in late autumn. In common with other areas of the Mediterranean, damaging seas can build up very quickly (in as little as two hours!) when there are winds over force 7.
There are continuous (computerised voice) forcasts on VHF channel 68. These are first given in Italian, followed by an English transaltion. The forcast covers the next 12 hours wind direction and strength and also the sea state.
Italy Meteorological Office (in English)
The Italian Meteorological Service is an organisational unit of the Italian Air Force (Servizio Meteorologico dell'Aeronautica Militare), and as such, the national meteorological service in Italy. The weather forecasts and other services serve both the armed forces and the general public.
Marine and land forecasts in English.
For links to free global weather information, forecast services and extreme weather information see the Noonsite Weather Page
There is a huge number of ports and marinas both on the mainland and in the offlying islands. Generally only those which offer clearance services or that have been recommended have been included.
Mainland: Agropoli , Anzio * , Bordighera , Capri , Civitavecchia * , Finale Ligure , Fiumicino (Rome) * , Gaeta , Genoa * , Imperia * , La Spezia * , Livorno , Naples * , Nettuno , Porto Cetraro , Porto Ercole , Porto di Loano , Rapallo/Santa Marherita Ligure , Reggio di Calabria * , Roccella Ionica , Rosignano Solvay , Salerno * , San Remo * , Savona , Scario , Sibari , Taranto * , Ventimiglia (Vintmille) * , Vibo Valentia
Mainland (Adriatic Coast): Ancona * , Bari * , Barletta * , Bisceglie , Brindisi * , Cariati , Chioggia * , Crotone , Fano , Laguana di Marano , Le Castella , Manfredonia * , Monfalcone * , Muggia/San Rocco , Numana , Pescara * , Po Delta , Porto San Giorgio , Porto Santa Margherita (Caorle) , Ravenna * , Rimini , Rodi Garganico , San Benedetto del Tronto , Santa Maria di Leuca , Trieste * , Venice * , Vieste
Sardinia: Alghero * , Arbatax * , Cagliari * , Calasetta (Isola di Sant'Antioco) , Carloforte (Isola di San Pietro) * , Castelsardo , Isola Rossa , Maddalena Archipelago , Olbia * , Porto Cervo * , Porto Torres , Portoscuso , Santa Teresa Gallura , Torregrande * , Tuelada , Villasimius
Sicily: Capo d' Orlando , Catania * , Cefalu , Gela * , Licata , Marina di Ragusa , Marsala * , Marzamemi , Mazara del Vallo , Messina * , Milazzo , Palermo * , Porto Empedocle * , Porto Palo di Menfi , Portorosa , Pozzallo , Riposto , Sant'Agata di Militello , Sciacca , Siracusa * , Taormina , Trapani *
Tuscan Islands: Capraia Island
* indicates port of entry