One of the most beautiful and coveted yacht cruising itineraries in the world starts in the Bay of Naples and then winds its way luxuriously along the Amalfi Coast. If you are longing for a genuine voyage of discovery, then the yacht charter Italy experience offered by Equinoxe Yacht from Naples to Sorrento is for you. We have five spectacular options that will make your holiday on one of the most internationally popular stretches of the Italian coastline even more unique.
Ischia, Capri, Procida, Amalfi, Positano and Sorrento are just a few of the spectacular ports of call on a Mediterranean cruise aboard one of Equinoxe Yacht’s luxury charter craft. The Bay of Naples and the Amalfi Coast are the most popular destinations with yachting folk the world over. A yacht charter Italy experience from Naples to Salerno can prove an even more memorable experience if you combine sailing these splendid waters with visits to towns and villages that were not only the cradle of Italian tradition but also immerse visitors in the Made in Italy ethic at every turn: from shopping to gourmet trails, and historical and cultural excursions.
1. QUALITY HANDCRAFTED PRODUCTS TO BUY AND TAKE HOME
The very fact that Made in Italy has achieved such a reputation in the fashion and lifestyle worlds is due in great part to the artisanal traditions so deeply rooted in the country. The little towns and villages on the islands dotting the Bay of Naples and along the Amalfi Coast are home to dozens of local artisan stores and workshops to which visitors from all over the world flock. There’s an embarrassment of riches from wonderful clothes to gorgeously artistic ceramics, delicious local foods and fine wines.
No visit to Capri, for instance, would be complete without a call to Cuccurullo , the home of the classic leather sandal. This historic store in the Marina Grande has been crafting the iconic made-to-measure Capri-style footwear since 1950. Alongside its range of glamorous jewelled sandals, it still also stocks the classic models so adored by Jackie Kennedy.
One of the most traditional souvenirs from Capri is a St Michael’s bell. Legend has it that Saint Michael (San Michele to the Islanders) appeared to a shepherd boy on the edge of a cliff and gave him the bell he wore around his neck, advising him to always heed its ringing to stay clear of danger. The boy never had a problem after that day so the bell became a symbol of happiness. Today it is considered a good luck charm and it is said that every time it rings, a wish is granted. You can buy the bell as a pendant from the historic jewellers Pierino or find a terracotta version from one of the many little shops dotting the island’s streets and roads.
Positano, on the other hand, is synonymous with fashion. The famous Positano look won the hearts of Hollywood stars but is actually a story of a great initiative. Tourists would often arrive into Positano from the cities with nothing to wear on the beach, the local businesses began to improvise and sell tunics, shirts and pants made from whatever fabrics and textiles they had to hand, including old family heirlooms! They would turn a hand-embroidered sheet and old crocheted doilies into elegant eveningwear. The “Positano look” has spread right across the world but is also still to be found in the town’s many boutiques, including the famous Antica Sartoria Positano.
And how could we fail to mention ceramics? In the little town of Vietri sul Mare, the Ceramica Artistica Solimene produces wonderful tableware, objects, and floor and wall tiles, all made and decorated entirely by hand using methods that date back to the 1400s.
2. A GOURMAND’S DREAM
The South of Italy is currently undergoing a gastronomic renaissance of sorts and Neapolitan cuisine is one of the most widely “copied”. Just think pizza and you’ll get an idea of how far it has spread. Of course, many lay claim to have invented the pizza but at the end of the day, pizza means Naples. Proof of this is that UNESCO has even gone so far as to add the Neapolitan art of pizza-making to its prestigious Intangible Heritage list. So it is unthinkable to go all the way to Naples and not sample this local delicacy. Of the many pizzerias worth a try, we’d recommend Ciro a Mergellina and Da Ciro , both brilliant exponents of “Ciro”-style hospitality. Da Ciro, in particular, has been one of the great symbols of culinary excellence and quality ingredients since it opened its doors in 1850. Fans of the famously delicious “pizza fritta” (fried pizza) should try Antica Pizza Fritta da Zia Esterina Sorbillo, where they will get to taste Neapolitan pizza at its most genuine made using light, innovative doughs and new and original takes on the classic. The pizzeria is also named in homage to Esterina as fried pizza was traditionally made by women because of its soft dough.
Don’t miss the spectacular Capri sunset either – enjoy it from the comfort of a table on the terrace overlooking the Bay of Naples at Mammà , a wonderful restaurant just a stone’s throw from the island’s famous Piazzetta. Michelin-starred chef Salvatore La Ragione’s cooking is more than a match for the breathtaking views as he uses only the freshest local ingredients to create a sustainable, low environmental impact menu in his equally green restaurant where there are not even any refrigerators or freezers.
Over on the island of Ischia, we’d recommend Daní Maison where chef Nino Di Costanzo does a fantastic six-course tasting menu that takes diners on a 360° journey of culinary discovery.
Italian cuisine is adored worldwide because of the ingredients it uses and there is plenty of fabulous produce in this part of the world. Starting with the great Sorrento lemons which are also known as come “Ovali di Sorrento” because of their oval shape, medium-to-large size and wonderfully fragrant rind rich in essential oils. In Cetara, the magnificent Torre (tower) dominates the surrounding land and seascape, but this lovely fishing village is actually more famous for its traditional “colatura di alici” or “anchovy drippings”. According to the Slow Food Presidium, the colatura is a clear, amber-colored liquid produced by fermenting anchovies in brine and used as a sauce with spaghetti or linguine. The latter two dishes are the undisputed stars of the local family meals and are best sampled in Al Convento, a very authentic but unassuming little restaurant with a plain terrace overlooking the entire coast.
3. DIVING IN CULTURE
The sea may fantastic and the views virtually impossible to forget but the islands in the Bay of Naples and the various localities along the Amalfi Coast are equally impressive on the culture front.
There are myriad culture trails and routes to choose from but we have selected our favourites. Starting with Naples itself, of course. Mount Vesuvius aside, the great symbols of the city are Maschio Angioino, a medieval fortress that is now a museum, and the Castel Dell’Ovo, the city’s oldest standing castle. The Castel Dell’Ovo owes its name to a legend that the poet and sorcerer Virgil secretly hid an egg in the foundations to support the building. If the egg was ever to break, the entire castle would collapse and a series of catastrophes befall the city. It is said that in the 14th century, the castle was badly damaged and to avoid panic in the local population, Queen Joanna I had to swear she had replaced the egg. Another must is the Reggia di Capodimonte, a royal palace that was once the summer residence of the Bourbons and the Savoys. It now also houses the National Museum of Capodimonte and its spectacular collection of classical and contemporary art.
Out on the Coast, Ravello deserves a look too. Also known as the City of Music, it hosts the internationally-renowned Ravello Festival, held annually in the enchanting surrounds of the Villa Rufolo and the amazing Oscar Niemeyer-designed Auditorium. Well squeezing in a concert or two! Another spellbinding find in Ravello is the Villa Cimbrone and its gardens. The latter are open the public even though the villa itself is now a luxury boutique Hotel de Charme. The gardens are like a wonderful natural terrace renowned for their 18th century marble busts, statues, fountains, epigraphs, temples and natural grottoes. The Arab-Sicilian-Norman cloister is also very beautiful.
Architecture fans will adore the city of Salerno which is enjoying a cultural and architectural revival. In 2016, for instance, it celebrated the opening of the new Zaha Hadid-designed Maritime Terminal , which has sleek, asymmetric oyster-like exterior inspired by the city’s deeply-rooted historic relationship with the sea but also creating new connections by forging a link between Salerno’s seafaring tradition and its historic old centre and surrounding area.
4. INLAND BEAUTY
More than just sea. When you’re sailing in such marvellous waters, it can be hard to go ashore to explore the more inland areas. But in the case of this particular part of the world, you will be well-rewarded for your efforts. A good idea is to soften the blow by starting out from a seaside or clifftop town or village. Amalfi is a good choice. Founded by the Romans, it was the capital of one of the ancient Maritime Republics and had a powerful merchant and naval fleet. Its most famous attraction is the Duomo di Sant’Andrea, which is part of the Amalfi cathedral complex. Built in the 10th century, it is adorned with myriad paintings and sculptures, and also has a beautiful Romanesque bell tower. There is a proto-industrial slant to the town and surrounding area, however. The so-called Valle dei Mulini (Valley of the Mills) is where the prized Amalfi paper, popular with Federico II amongst others, was once made using techniques and technologies adapted from the Arab world. Learn more about this fascinating story in the Museum of Paper.
To really immerse yourself in history, however, you won’t do better than the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, which were buried after a huge eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. A tour of the two archaeological sites will send you hurtling back in history as they are so well-preserved that life seems to have simply stood still for moment. You’ll see miraculously preserved papyruses, grave goods, furnishings, buildings, frescoes, mosaics and the homes abruptly abandoned by the townspeople during the eruption.
For a more active and extreme experience, we’d heartily recommend a trip to the Parco Nazionale del Vesuvio , where there are nine trails that offer 54 kilometres of hiking. The volcano itself provides unparalleled views of the Bay of Naples as well as the lush Mediterranean brushland where various types of shrubs, plants and flowers flourish, including marvellous orchids and, naturally enough, the junipers so famously eulogised by the poet Giacomo Leopardi.
5. THE BEST SWIMMING SPOTS
It is very difficult indeed to choose from the many heavenly bays and natural grottos for this dream itinerary of ours. So we asked an expert – Massimo Marci, the captain of the yacht Myra, who knows the South of Italy like the back of his hand. His 30-metre gulet is also one of the luxury sailing yachts offered by Equinoxe Yachts in the Bay of Naples and Amalfi Coast.
Starting with the islands, you can’t miss stopping at the two lovely anchorages on the south side of Procida. Corricella is a fishing village brimming with brightly coloured houses and charming little restaurants, while Chiaiolella, which is famous for its crystal-clear sea. On the island of Ischia, don’t miss Cartaromana Bay with its imposing Aragonese castle overlooking the Vivara Island Nature Reserve. Ischia, however, is best known for its thermal springs and so, north-westerly winds permitting, you really have to call to Citara which overlooks the Giardini Poseidon , one of Europe’s largest thermal spa complexes. Flit over to San Montano Bay too where you’ll find Negombo, one of the islands largest thermal parks. Lastly, on the island of Capri, as an alternative to the gorgeous Marina Piccola and the breathtaking but increasingly tourist-thronged Faraglioni sea stacks and Blue Grotto, Marci recommends a visit to the equally beautiful Grotta di Matermania, a hugely atmospheric cavern used by the cult of the god Mithras and the goddess Cybele for religious rituals.
Another spot worth lingering along the coast is the Scoglio della Tartaruga (Turtle Rock) between Seiano and Vico Equense, where the morning light is magical. Once you get to Sorrento, you’ll arrive at the Marina Grande where Captain Marci suggests stopping off the Villa Pane, one of the oldest villas in the entire area as the many archaeological features in its charming garden. Sailing on towards Nerano, the heartland of Campania’s gastronomic history, don’t miss a dip in the waters of the Li Galli Islands – a magnificent brush with nature. Another must is to enjoy the spectacular Positano anchorage from the sea with a stop off in Capo di Conca Bay, and, of course, that of Amalfi.
Then there is Cavallo Morto Beach between Capo d’Orso and Maiori, and Vietri.
But be warned: “You have to really take your time along this final stretch of the Coast to drink in every last detail,” says the Captain.
Scoprite le proposte di Equinoxe per yacht a noleggio da Napoli a Salerno
Myra by Ege Yat
29.87 m – 12 guests – 6 cabins
Kaskazi Four by Lagoon
18.90 m – 10 guests – 5 cabins
Blue Lady by Rossato
26.60 m – 8 guests – 4 cabins
Noi Toy by Toy Marine
20.70 m overall length, 6 guests, 3 cabins