A short drive from the twists and turns of the famous Amalfi Coast Drive and the crowded rocky beaches is an area known as the Cilento. Miles of sugar soft sand on one side, and buffalo farms and a vast national park on the other are what you will find here. On the edge of the picturesque town of Santa Maria di Castellabate is a lovely beach with views of a castle and centuries old palazzi.
Hop on the bus or rent a scooter and head to the far end of the small island of Ponza, just seven kilometres long. A few hundred steps down from the parking lot is one of Italy’s most unique beaches. Get your sun lounger for €1 from the ferryman of the small wooden boat named Carronte! Cala Fonte da U’Russulill is spread out on the rocks with an impressive view of Palmorola island, with green and blue clear water that is perfect for snorkeling.
Rome is very close to the sea. You can take a short train ride, spend the day with your feet in the sand and be back in time for dinner. The beach at Santa Marinella can get very crowded on summer weekends, but slightly off season (a Wednesday morning in early June or September) it is heavenly with only nonnas watching their grandchildren and high school kids skipping class. There are a few patches of free beach on the rocky edges of this sandy crescent but it is worth paying the beach club entrance fee. La Sirenetta will make you a delicious plate of fried seafood or a fresh mozzarella sandwich that you can have at a shady table or bring to the beach.
Anacapri found on the quieter side of buzzy Capri. Take a bus or one of the island’s signature convertible taxis up and around the Monte Solaro, head over to the right side and you will get a whopper of a view out over the bay of Naples. Lido Il Faro is on the Punta Carena just below the island’s lighthouse, which is the second tallest in Italy. This elegant beach club has a salt water pool, an excellent restaurant and plenty of space where you can cosy up under a umbrella for a romantic day by the sea.
From the tiny port in Positano take the pleasant, an virtually stair-free, paved path named Via Positanesi D’America across to Fornillo. You will find one small free beach and four private beach clubs each with a café, restaurant, rental sun beds and parasols.
Not all of Italy’s beaches are on the sea. In the north of the country, lakes abound. The sophisticated Lake Como is beloved by the most elegant (and famous) world travellers. Lido di Lenno has a sandy patch on the lake’s edge which is perfect for children, plus you can rent sun loungers and parasols. There is a raised wooden area with a bar and tables to eat, and the deep fresh water is especially inviting on hot summer afternoons. The view of the nearby mountains is pretty terrific too.
On the posh Santa Margherita stretch of the Italian Riviera, Bagni Fiori located in the bay of Paraggi, is billed as the most exclusive beach in the area. It is also one of the largest beach areas in this part of the Italian coastline, which mainly comprises cliffs and rocky outcrops. This pebbled beach has beach chairs and umbrellas to rent for a relaxing day by the sea.
The stretch of Tuscan coastline known as Pietrasanta is dotted with some of Italy’s chicest beach clubs. The capital of the Versilia region has wide sandy beaches and clear shallow water. Post-beach, there’s a great choice of restaurants for a cocktail or a romantic seafood dinner along the lively promenade.
The deep southern shores of Puglia hold miles and miles of flat sandy beaches and silvery olive groves. The beach at Torre Canne is a pristine spot in a protected national park. You can also visit nearby hot springs for a natural spa experience.
Most of the towns along the Amalfi Coast face south which means that in summer the sun dips behind the mountain hours before nightfall and bathes the candy coloured town in a soft glow. If you are after something scenic, One Fire Beach, in Praiano is a lively beach club that takes sunset very seriously. Get in the theme by sipping a spritz from underneath one of the orange umbrellas.
The southern Italian region of Calabria is often overlooked in favour of Amalfi. For the adventurous traveller, the beaches near the coastal town of Soverato are sure to please. Here, the crystal clear waters of the Ionian sea and stretches of soft white sand beckon. When you head back up to the historic town, a lively nightlife awaits you.