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By No owner — last modified Jul 09, 2018 02:27 PM

 Italy - Profile


  • Italy is located in southern Europe and comprises the long, boot-shaped Italian Peninsula, the southern side of the Alps, the large plain of the Po Valley and some islands including Sicily and Sardinia. It has well over 5000 miles of coastline, surrounded by the Tyrrhenian, Adriatic, Ligurian, Ionian and Mediterranean Seas.
  • The population of 60 million speak Italian.
  • The Euro is the official currency.
  • Italy operates on Central European Standard Time (UTC +1).
  • The country has a temperate Mediterranean climate, with dry, warm summers and moderate, wet winters. For more details see the Weather section below.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. For more details on yachting services see Yachting Essentials.
  • 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.


Overall Crime and Safety:

Street crime is rare, but you should take sensible precautions to safeguard your passport and valuables.

For travel advisories see the following websites:

Specific Areas of Concern:

Take care on public transport and in crowded areas in city centres, particularly in and around Termini station in Rome, where incidents of street muggings have been reported, and at other main stations.

Yachts have in the past been either attacked or threatened in the port of Saline Ioniche in the Strait of Messina, and so are advised to take care when in this port.

Maritime Issues:

The usual safety and security precautions should be taken to protect equipment and dinghies and prevent access to the boat when absent.

General Emergency Numbers:

For more details see General Info.


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.

Sicily experiences an atmospheric pressure phenomena during the summer months called a “marrubbio” or meteotsunami. Whilst not a regular occurrence, it is very difficult to predict and can (if extreme) cause chaos. During this event the sea level can increase and decrease dramatically in a  matter of minutes. They are “atmospherically generated waves that amplify as they shoal and then resonate in bays and harbours” and can cause flooding and damage to vessels in port and at anchor.

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

Main Ports

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.

East Coast (Adriatic Coast): Ancona * , Bari * , Barletta * , Bisceglie , Brindisi * , Chioggia * , Fano , Laguana di Marano , Manfredonia * , Monfalcone * , Muggia/San Rocco , Numana , Pescara * , Po Delta , Porto San Giorgio , Porto Santa Margherita (Caorle) , Ravenna * , Rimini , Rodi Garganico , San Benedetto del Tronto , Trieste * , Venice * , Vieste

Elba: Cavo , Marciana Marina , Porto Azzurro * , Portoferraio

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 *

South Coast (Ionian Sea): Cariati , Crotone , Gallipoli , Le Castella , Porto Degli Argonauti , Roccella Ionica , Santa Maria di Leuca , Sibari , Taranto *

West Coast: Agropoli , Anzio * , Bordighera , Capri , Civitavecchia * , Finale Ligure , Fiumicino (Rome) * , Gaeta , Genoa * , Imperia * , La Spezia * , Livorno , Naples * , Nettuno , Porto Bolaro , Porto Cetraro , Porto Ercole , Porto Lotti , Porto di Loano , Rapallo/Santa Marherita Ligure , Reggio di Calabria * , Rosignano Solvay , Salerno * , San Remo * , Savona , Scario , Ventimiglia (Vintmille) * , Vibo Valentia

West Coast Islands: Capraia Island , Ponza (Pontine Islands) , The Aeolian Islands , Ustica , Ventotene (Pontine Islands)

* indicates port of entry

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Jan 30, 2019 01:47 PM

Sardinia: Cannigione (NE tip of Sardinia)
Report from Mike Morgan:

On a trip from Spain to Italy in July of last year (2018), our passage took us between Corsica and Sardinia. We took a route south of the Maddalena archipelago heading east and, with some unfavorable forecasts, we decide to seek a refuge from the impending storm. From a brief study of the charts, we decided upon hunkering down in a marina in Cannigione. Cannigione is a small provincial Sardinian town at the base of an inlet, the Gulf of Arzachena, which provided good shelter from all directions.
We took a marina berth for a couple of nights but due to the expense (100 Euros a night) we decided to anchor just off the main beach of the town where we decided to spend the best part of a week (not due to the weather but just the beauty of the place). There was an official anchorage further down past the marina laid with buoys which was crowded and we decided to give it a miss. I don’t understand the herding mentality of cruising folk when just off the town main beach is a great anchorage with very few neighbors.
On the outside of the marina breakwater is a fuel pontoon which is exposed to the chop on a windy day (so I would suggest filling up when conditions are calm). We did experience a katabatic wind one night, but the holding was good in 5m over mud and the sea remained calm even when blowing 25 knots. The anchorage gave easy access to the town and the beach. Given the time of year, our spot was blissfully uncrowded with plenty of places to drop the hook. It is not particularly dinghy friendly on the north side of the town as I guess they want cruisers to stay in the marina or take a mooring buoy. We found a little spot near the main harbor to tie up the dinghy and we never got bothered by any official bureaucrats, even though a sign said no dinghy’s.
At night the town lights made a magical backdrop to a serenely quite spot. Cannigione hosts many bars, a friendly community and a beautiful clean sandy beach. The town also offered many good, but expensive, sea food restaurants and boasts a large supermarket to stock up with essentials. The Maddalena archipelago is just a few miles outside the entrance to the gulf and makes a fantastic day trip and you can stay overnight, but need permits which we did not have time to obtain.
I would recommend a visit if your schedule permits and you are in the area. A little sheltered gem away from the madness of crowded anchorages.

bsadler says:
Aug 23, 2018 03:21 PM

Marina di Camerota, Camerota, Campagna – a small marina with large prices. €125/night for a 13m sailboat plus €5 for electricity plus €3 for a shower (and the facilities have restricted hours). The small town has no more or less to recommend it that any other small town in the region. Basically a rip-off. Anchoring outside the harbour (i.e. immediately East) is an economic option.

Fabian says:
Mar 15, 2018 05:40 AM

Hi, I like to make a suggestion. Italy is a really large area and most of you know the books of Rod Heikell, which are quite nice. But I am afraid, they are not updated anymore in a real permanent way and some informations seem to be a little out of time, sometimes. Anyway they are good for checking back other informations. I turned to use the the Italian "Pagine Azzurre", which is a real good work, with all necessary informations and no private oppinions (which I like). You can buy it nearly everywhere. It's not expensive and it has all ports in it. And it's online available too. - It is in Italian only, but in times of online translators even this is no problem and while planing your trip you'll learn some words Italian, which is more than helpful, as Italians are very happy, when your just try to speak their language, no matter how good! Have a safe journey!

Val Ellis
Val Ellis says:
Feb 14, 2018 12:50 PM

Posted on behalf of Jan Harzem

Immigrants at sea
Due to the issue of immigrants trying to get to Spain from North Africa, you will no doubt encounter some of their boats, as we did. Spanish coast guard will put out notifications on VHF about boats that they know of, their approximate vicinity and no. of people on board. My advice is as follows:
When you spot such a vessel, get in contact with the closest MRCC center in Spain or Italy. Get close to the vessel so you can report status etc., but do not attempt to take anybody onboard. Some of these boats have 28 people or more on board. In these areas help is only a couple of hours away. We spotted a small boat about 60 miles south of Carthagena and changed course 90 depree's to investigate. Within 3 minutes we were called up by MRCC Carthagena asking us to help in the search of a vessel with 8 people on board. We followed the small boat for a couple of hours until dusk, but never caught up with the boat as they were going as fast as we were, but gave course and heading to the Spanish Coast Guard who picked them up a couple of hours later.

vtomanov says:
May 25, 2017 02:08 PM

I'm investigating different options for my trip from France to Greece and looking for suggestions for:
1. place/marina/mooring around Genoa/Italy to leave my sailing boat (9.98x3.5m 2m draft) from 11 Jul to 20 Jul.
2. place/marina/mooring around Naples/Italy to leave my sailing boat (9.98x3.5m 2m draft) for a week from 12th August.

inlu says:
May 09, 2017 05:31 PM

Warning for the marina Fossa de Gallo. Extremely boring marina with a 1 km walk to the nearest village. Expensive and you get nothing but a berth. They charged us 70 euros in early May.

Boatnotes says:
Mar 03, 2017 12:14 PM

We arrived from Corfu, first port of call was Le Castella, a very sleep little fishing town with a fort worth visiting. We couldn't reach anyone at the marina so we went inside the fishing port and moored alongside for one night. The fishermen said it was ok. We found one pizza place open and had the best pizza and calzone for around €5 each!!

Jac says:
Jun 27, 2018 12:41 PM

I'm Australian and sail Med every summer. Last yr Greece to Italy & Sicily. I would not recommend cruising much of Italian coast. Few anchorages & marinas expensive. This year we are in Sardinia and Corsica. Highly recommend Sardinia especially the north coast and Maddalena archipelago. Beautiful cruising islands, crystal clear over sand. Bonifacio on south Corsica stunning harbour & ancient town. They have charter fleets. north coast Sardinia is spitting distance to south coast Corsica.

PetrLaska says:
Mar 03, 2018 02:17 PM

Hi Dave, try Croatia for sailing, much more interesting for family sailing with children, 1000s of islands, 1000s of gulfs or ports, lot of possibilities to enjoy summer vacations with boat in Europe. Not so hard like the west side of Italy, very easy to navigate. I'll be happy to help you. If you want, of course.

DaveB says:
Oct 31, 2017 09:20 AM

Hi Armando, Thanks for your kind offer of help. Our family (wife,myself and 3 teenage kids)from Australia are planning a 1 month holiday in Italy in September/October next year. We would like to include a week chartering a sailing boat. Can you recommend a nice area? Sardinia looks good but have read that winds can be a bit strong at that time of year. Would welcome your comments. Ciao David

Armando Addati
Armando Addati says:
Jan 11, 2016 07:14 PM

I am available for any information regarding cruising in Italy, specially on the warnings and advices. In particular I can help you if you are cruising on: Sardinia, Sicily, Tuscany, Rome, Calabria, Rocella Ionica. Please do not hesitate to ask I'll be happy to help you. You find my contact information in my profile. Armando

Jac says:
Jun 27, 2018 12:45 PM

There is a wreck with a pink dotted line around at that lat lon clearly marked on Navionics. There is also a rock showing at 38° 11.153'N, 012° 44.297'E, also surrounded by a pink dotted line.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Sep 24, 2014 11:24 AM

Posted on behalf of Nico Cortlever:
Capo San Vito:
During our approach of the harbour we hit an object in 13 m deep water. The depth of this object is approx 3 m. It can be a rock or a wreck. It is not on any of the electronic maps. The location of the object is approx. 38 11.19 N 012 44.19 W. Stay away from this area!
The anchorage north of the harbour is excellent in strong westerlies.

West Coast
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