Italy's glory extends beyond its galleries, fashion shops, and dining rooms. The country is one of nature's jewels, with exceptional diversity. From the North's freezing Alps and glacial lakes to South's fiery craters and turquoise caves, Italy is a very active destination with lots to see and do. One day you’re skiing down Courmayeur's powdery slopes, the next you’re racing across the marshes of the Maremma, and soon after you’re diving the coral-studded reefs of Campania. Pretty big stuff for a small country about the size of Arizona.
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Sailing Sardinia (4days)
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Suspended between the blue sky and the brightly-colored sea, the Amalfi coast seems to have been created directly from an artist’s palette. This is one of the most renowned tourist destinations in all of Italy. The stunning coastline alternates between adorable towns perched on seaside cliffs, sublime beaches, coastal walks and wild, jaw-dropping scenery. Here the lemon blossoms scent the gentle sea breezes, and the dazzling colors of the majolica domes, bougainvillea, and carnations decorate the houses of ancient fishing villages like Positano, Praiano and Atrani, now chic playgrounds for well-heeled tourists. Aside from the coastal towns and mountains, the Amalfi Coast has fantastic sailing opportunities, including trips to the islands of Capri and Sirenusas.
Miles and miles of pristine beaches are probably Sardinia’s biggest draw. It’s a sailing paradise, with clear blue waters, hidden coves and a coastline that changes dramatically around the island. Sardinia is also home to fantastic archeological sites. This is one of very few places where you can see Nuraghi megalithic monuments. The island has fantastic little villages, great food and world class wine, not to mention the exhilarating nightlife and jet set quality shopping. Sardinia’s climate allows for excellent boating conditions year round. There are several harbors to set sail from and various protected bays to anchor and relax. Some of the best places for sailing include the tiny bays of Cala Regina, Mari Pintau, Torre delle Stelle and further along the southern shores to Villasimius and Cala Pira. To the north, between Sardinia and Corsica, La Maddalena archipelago, with its myriad stunning beaches, and the uninhabited natural beauty of Asinara Island are highly recommended.
The biggest of the Italian islands, Sicily is separated from the mainland by the Strait of Messina and encircled by the Ionian, Tyrrhenian and Mediterranean Seas, making it a wonderful boating destination. The travel experience here is rich in history: Greeks, Romans, Arabs and most European powers of the Middle Ages and Renaissance have all left their mark on island’s art and architecture. The island is filled with natural beauty, from the steaming-hot peak of Mount Etna to the UNESCO-protected Aeolian Islands. The people are warm and friendly, and the food is delicious, even by heightened Italian standards. Some maintain the best cannoli in Italy are found here. Toward the north and east, plan to visit Taormina, Mount Etna, Siracusa, and the Baroque cities of Ragusa, Modica and Noto. On the western and southern sides of the island, check out Trapani, Cefalù, Erice, and the amazing ruins in Agrigento. To really set sail in the Mediterranean, try a longer trip to Pantelleria, over 60 miles from Sicily in the direction of Tunisia.
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