Forget road trips and rail – Italy is best explored by water?

Cinque Terre, Italy

Italy is an evergreen favourite with UK travellers and winners of the Best European Country in the 2023 Silver Travel Awards. It’s not just one country however, but a series of regions each with its own dialect, architecture and cuisine. Exploring Italy by cruise opens up the chance to explore multiple examples of these regions rather than being based in a single area.

The Amalfi coast and the offshore islands of Sardinia and Sicily when combined with the grandeurs of Rome and Ravenna and the ruins of Pompeii really can show you the amazing differences that constitute Italy and make you appreciate this beautiful country even more.

The southern tip of Puglia and Calabria where locals still speak a dialect of ancient Greek contrast greatly with Venice whilst a trip along the Po river takes you deep in to the heartland were walled Renaissance cities and the fashion houses of Milan are waiting to be explored.

Watch a floodlit opera under the stars where once gladiators fought in Verona or stroll under Juliet’s balcony whilst just a few days later will find you walking amidst the ruins of Arab palaces in Messina.

Take an Italian cruise, you won’t regret it!

Sicilian Sailing

If you want to explore the Italian coast as the Greeks and Romans did then why not do it in style under sail? In Lipari one the seven volcanic Aeolian Islands, just off the north coast of Sicily, climb narrow streets to the medieval castello and sail past Stromboli, watching the sky for volcanic fireworks. Messina is the gateway to Sicily, do try the famous mezza con panna al caffè, a half glass of coffee-flavoured granita and cream. Amalfi offers a visit to nearby Positano, said to be the most beautiful town in the Mediterranean. Sorrento’s, city walls rise straight out of the sea capped with its magical gardens whilst the pastel houses of Ponza Town in the Pontine islands are rarely visited by tourists so you can enjoy the unspoiled town and harbour.

Star Clippers offers the 7 night “Amalfi and Sicily” cruise on the 166 guest “Star Flyer”.  Sailing round trip from Civitavecchia on August 24th, 2024, to Lipari, Messina, Amalfi, Sorrento and Ponza.   

Besta Lucca

Sardinia a jewel in Italy’s crown, this cruise takes you to Alghero where the street signs reveal the Catalan heritage and Porto Cervo, the trendiest hangout in the Costa Smeralda with its harbour overflowing with luxury yachts. Visit Siena looking much as it in the 14th century and experience The Cinque Terre by train on a full-day excursion to absorb the scenery and spectacular, colourful fishing villages along the Italian Riviera. The island of Elba is where Napoleon spent his first exile and is in stark contrast to the beauties of the Tuscan countryside then explore Lucca one of Italy’s most fascinating and best-preserved medieval cities and the architectural beauty of Florence with its exceptional artistic history and the glory that is the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.

CroisiEurope offers the 7 night “La Dolce Vite along the Italian Coastline” cruise on the 130 guest “La Belle des Oceans” sailing on 24th May, 12th July and August 16th, 2024, round trip from Nice to Livorno, Portoferraio, Alghero, Porto Cervo, Porto Santo Stefano and La Spezia

Volcano Sojourn

This cruise allows you to sail around the lesser visited “boot” of Italy seeking out places such as Crotone, in Calabria. Founded in 710 BC as the Greek colony of Kroton it was the home of Pythagoras. You can explore its ancient ruins or visit Le Castella, a fortified village on an island. Situated at the “heel” Bari holds romantic honey-toned balconied houses with Romanesque and baroque churches. Visit Alberobello with its magical forest of tiny conical, beehive-shaped huts called trulli. Under the towering mass of Vesuvius there is so much to see in Naples and as the home of the pizza it would be wrong not to try a local Neapolitan. Explore Pompeii or Herculaneum or visit the underground city. Messina too offers Greek and Roman treasures and a trip to Taormina with spectacular views of Mt. Etna.

Viking has the 7 night “Italian Sojourn” cruise on the 930 guest “Viking Jupiter” on August 4th 2024 Sailing from Civitavecchia, Naples, Messina, Crotone, Bari, Sibenik and Venice.

Split Mosaics

Ravenna is famous for its spectacular mosaics from the 5th and 6th century that are found in its cathedrals, palaces, and public buildings. Whereas the Old World city of Trieste sitting snugly in the northeastern Italian corner is a mixture of Latin, Slavic, and Germanic cultures perched on the Adriatic Sea. Cozy coffeehouses and seafood restaurants with some fascinating museums are wating to be explored. This cruise sails southwards along the Croation coast visiting Dubrovnik before calling at Brindisi often described as a patchwork of Italian style medieval streets and churches with precious interiors. Just 35 miles down the coast from Naples, Salerno has a rich history with a marvellous collection of parks, natural wonders, and unforgettable vantage points to soak up the wonder of the Tyrrhenian Sea along this sublime stretch of Italian coastline.

Celebrity Cruises has the 10 night “Best of Italy and Croatia” cruise on the 2000 guest “Celebrity Constellation” on August 4th 2024 Sailing from Ravenna, Triest, Zader, Split, Dubrovnik, Kotor, Brindisi, Salerno, Civitavecchia

To book your next cruise to Italy, or for any other holiday needs, speak to one of the Silver Travel Advisor travel experts by calling 0800 412 5678.


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Steve Newman

Eco Adventure Cruising writer & photographer

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