A guide to your summer getaway from Rome
With the weather warming up, holidaymakers of all sorts are flocking to the beaches on the fringes of Italy. But for those of you who want to truly experience a different flavour and escape the hustle and bustle of Rome, claim an island as your vacation spot. Whatever your pick, azure waters and picturesque seaside towns await you.
South of Rome, this island is a beautiful combination of lively island life with isolated little grottos and beaches for those times when you want to truly disengage from the world. The main drag or marina is where you will spend most of your time either dining on seafood in the restaurants around Piazza Carlo Pisacane or grabbing an aperitivo at the ever popular Bar Tripoli. Ponza is also excellent for diving thanks to its labyrinthine grottos, while Le Piscine Naturali in the bay of Cala Feola is where you will find gravel beaches and crystal clear water perfect for when you want to go for a swim. Also available on the isle are rental scooters where you can navigate through Ponza’s long winding roads and take in the breathtaking landscape. And for those hoping to explore other isles, check out the historic isle of Ventotene or wild Palmarola, both a short boat trip away.
How to get there: Take the Train to Anzio or Formia. From the port, there’s a ferry service is available for Ponza.
The largest island in the gulf of Naples, Ischia is known for its rejuvenating spa treatments. This island (once a hotbed of volcanic eruptions) is now dormant but is frequented by travellers who seek the curative benefits of the natural hot springs of Sorgeto and the volcanic mud in the Fumaroles of Sant’Angel. The island is also home to the Nitrodi hot springs, a spa that is known for its healing, mineral rich waters rich that date back to Ancient Roman times. One of the sights worth seeing on the isle is Castello Aragonese in Ischia Ponte, a fortress built in 1433 to defend the coastline whose tower was said to house the famous Michelangelo.
How to get there: Take the train to Naples. From either its ports there is a ferry service available for Ischia.
It is hard to believe that this island was once the exile of one Napoleon Bonaparte in 1814. And although its reputation comes from this particular event in its past, this island midway between Corsica and the Italian coast is far from a banishment site. The island is rich with culture in the alleyways of Portoferraio where you can see the famed twinset forts Forte Stella and Forte Falcone. It is also home to interesting hiking trails, but the most stunning viewing point is Monte Capanne which can be accessed via a cable car that takes you to the summit at 1018 m. As for beaches, the popular Cavoli beach with coarse granite sand and clear blue water is a family-friendly favourite.
How to get there: Take the train to Piombino Marittima and from there the ferry service to Elba.
The glamour of the island of Capri has made it a celebrity hotspot. The island’s charm is found not only in the VIPs that land on its shores but in the beauty of its pastel and white coloured houses that line the steep uphill climb of its streets. The island is also great for anyone hoping to take a dip in the deep blue turquoise waters, whether you choose to swim by the Faro lighthouse or take a rowboat out to the famed Grotta Azzurra. Capri is also littered with stores and restaurants that were frequented by the stars. La Parisienne (Piazza Umberto, I) established in 1906 is famous for its Capri pants purchased by Audrey Hepburn in the 60’s. And for those more interested in cuisine, the terrace restaurant of Il Geranio (Viale Giacomo Matteoti, 8) will be sure to please with its extraordinary view of the Isole di Faraglioni.
How to get there: Take the train to Naples, and from either of its ports there is a ferry service available for Capri.
If you’re looking for a local gem on the Mediterranean, this colorful island characterized by houses splashed with shades from pink and blue to green and yellow is the ultimate retreat. Procida is the smallest of the islands of the Bay of Naples, but surely not the least beautiful. In comparison to the nearby Ischia and Capri, Procida gets much less foreigners and it’s mostly a Neapolitan’s secret. But don’t expect a vast coastline, the island is so small, walking is all you need get anywhere you like. And if you’re up for exploring beach coves, rent one of the small gozzos in the port for the day. The most famous place to soak under the sun is the beach of Marina Chiaiolella, an ancient fishermen’s village that has maintained its original charm. Here you’ll find beach facilities from sunbeds to restaurants. After a long day at the beach, a stroll around Terra Murata – Procida’s historic center – is a must!
How to get there: Take the train to Naples, and from either of its ports there is a ferry service available for Procida.
There’s a small slice of heaven just off the Tuscan coast in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Picture pristine beaches with crystal clear waters and pebbly shorelines paired with unforgettable sunsets and a true Italian-style vibe. It’s called Giglio Island, and it’s just a short ferry ride from the famous Argentario. If you’re into scuba diving and snorkelling, this island is just the place for you. It’s packed with sea life and vegetation underwater, and covered in Mediterranean vegetation inland. To immerse yourself in the island vibe, head to the port, almost resembling a picturesque village with its two lighthouses and Torre Saracena. This is where bars, restaurants and shops are open till night. For the best beaches, don’t miss out on the Cannelle, Caldane and Arenella.
How to get there: Take the train to Orbetello – Argentario and then the ferry to Giglio from Porto Santo Stefano.