Summer in Italy means going to the beach – but often everybody has the same idea. Sidestep the crowds by heading to some of the country’s lesser-known stretches. Here’s our guide.
You can visit several idyllic Italian beaches – and explore picturesque inland villages and countryside – on Culture Trip’s specially curated 10-day southern Italy adventure, led by our Local Insider.
Hop on the bus or rent a scooter and head to the far end of the 7sqkm (4.3sqmi) island of Ponza. A few hundred steps down from the car park sits Cala Fonte beach. Here you can get a €1 sun lounger, enjoy views of Palmarola island, and go snorkelling in the clear water.
On the quieter side of buzzy Capri is Anacapri, where you’ll discover the Lido del Faro, a place where it’s possible to swim from dusk until dawn. It’s just below the Punta Carena lighthouse (faro), one of the tallest in Italy.
A short drive from the twists and turns of the fabled Amalfi Coast and its crowded, rocky beaches is the Cilento region. Here you’ll find buffalo farms, a vast national park and, at the edge of the picturesque town of Santa Maria di Castellabate, a lovely beach with views of a castle and centuries-old palazzi.
Santa Marinella is close to Rome, and you can get there with a short train ride. The beach can get a little crowed on summer weekends, so plan to visit slightly off-season, in either June or September. You’ll have to pay an entrance fee, but it’s well worth it, with the fried seafood at restaurant La Sirenetta being a highlight.
From the tiny port of Positano, take the paved Via Positanesi d’America to Fornillo. There, you’ll discover a small, picture-postcard beach and four private beach clubs. All have a cafe and restaurant, plus rental sunbeds and parasols.
One Fire Beach, in Praiano, is a lively beach club that prides itself on having the best sunsets. Most of the towns along the Amalfi Coast face south, so when the sun dips in summer it’s behind the mountains. Enjoy it here with a spritz in hand.
Not all of Italy’s beaches are on the sea. In the north of the country, Lido di Lenno, on Lake Como, is a well-kept secret. This beach has terrific views of the nearby mountains, providing a lovely spot for eating and drinking.
Bagni Fiore, in the bay of Paraggi, is billed as the most exclusive beach on the Santa Margherita Ligure stretch of the Italian Riviera. It’s also one of the largest beach areas on this part of the Italian coastline, which mainly comprises cliffs and rocky outcrops. Pitch up for the day with rented beach chairs and umbrellas.
The deep southern shores of Puglia boast flat, sandy beaches and silvery olive groves for miles – and the beach at Torre Canne is a brilliant case in point. This stretch, in a protected natural park, is also close to hot springs, for a natural spa experience.