The glories of Rome, Florence, Naples, and Milan are quite rightly trumpeted around the world.
The flip-side of this though is that Italy often gets seen as a ‘city-break’ nation — cool, stylish, historic and cultured.
But this is to overlook the 7,600 km of infinitely varying coastline offering those less inclined to Renaissance gems a treasure no less desirable: Italy’s perfect beaches.
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We’ve picked our five favourites, so you don’t have to.
Arguably the diamond among the gems of the Amalfi Coast’s beaches. Sorrento’s backdrop — rolling hills overlooking the Vesuvius volcano — is simply stunning. It’s also just a short drive from the buzzing city of Naples and close to Pompeii, Capri and Ischia. In antiquity, it was famed for its Sirens. Today, it’s the lure of the beach!
Capri has long been a magnet for Italy’s rich and famous, and with good reason — it is a Mediterranean paradise, an island dominated by rugged cliffs, luxury apartments with infinity pools, all projected against the most brilliant blue seas and skies anywhere in the world. A short walk form the historic center of Capri is Marinna Piccolla beach.
Another classic Italian beach with gorgeously wide strips of white sand stretching along Adriatic coast, Rimini is every inch the classy Italian tourist hot-spot. In Italy, architectural marvels and Roman ruins are never far away, and so it is with Rimini. At night the beach area positively buzzes with upmarket restaurants, bars and clubs.
4. Spiaggia Sabbie Nere, Sicily
Easily the loveliest beach on the archipelago, Spiaggia Sabbie Nere is scenic, quiet, and usually quite empty on the island of Vulcano, which is why the sands are black. This is only a problem around noon when the sand gets so hot it is impossible to walk on. Take flip-flops and chill. Mud baths using the volcanic mud are also available.
Only an hour from Rome, Terracina is a firm favourite with the Italians. White sands, warm sea and all mod-cons in terms of sea-front bars, restaurants and shops. What lifts Terracina is the beach’s proximity to a host of Roman ruins, including Jupiter’s Temple and the old Roman Forum. It is still a working port and has a bustling and picturesque quayside.