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Cruising Italy's Coasts

Italy, with its 7500 km (4,660 mi) of coastline, practically overflowing with indentations, gulfs and coves, natural landfalls and touristic ports, stands out as a cruise destination, and is one of the primary cruise departure points in Europe.

Ever higher numbers of tourists are choosing a cruise as an all-inclusive vacation that combines fun, relaxation, culture, and the possibility to see a number of destinations in one long itinerary at sea – and, one might add, without having to change hotels!Portofino, LiguriaThe Bel Paese is a protagonist among sea destinations, both on an international level and within the Mediterranean, thanks to its favorable climate and marine conditions, as well as easy port access and varied touristic divertments, all on a year-round basis. 

Italy not only offers innumerable ports from which passengers can embark on a cruise (more than any other country – one passenger in three departs from an Italian port), but even more often the Peninsula is a destination point for many cruises. 

Among the major ports are Civitavecchia, Venice, Naples, Livorno, Savona, and Bari. Particularly, the port at Civitavecchia, besides being at the top of the European rankings for numbers of embarkations, disembarkations and transits, represents an ideal mooring post for excursions to Rome (inserted as one of the 47 Italian sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List).  

Naples, even though not a typical docking point for passenger loading and unloading, is still one of the primary sea ports of call in all of Europe, as seafarers can take a number of different trips to the nearby islands (specifically, Capri, Ischia and Procida), as well as to the glorious Amalfi Coast. 

The port at Venice, on the other hand, is one of the most frequented by both Italian and foreign navigation companies; after all, it is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and thus a huge attraction for numerous sea cruise itineraries. 

Messina, as well, is another landing place for a variety of cruiselines: a Sicilian port, it serves as a stop from which to visit some of the most beautiful spots on the island, like Taormina. 

Those departing from, embarking or stopping at Ligurian ports (Genoa, Savona, La Spezia), will be astounded by the magnificent panorama overlooking the towns of the Cinque Terre and the other splendid Ligurian borgoes on the sea, e.g. Portofino. 

It goes without saying that a renewed increase in cruise traffic that leaves from, visits or lands in Italy has taken place in recent years (as in the Loire Valley and on the Nile River, for instance). Similarly, destinations have become more focused, meaning passengers can spend days visiting Venice and its Lagoon, or the Po River Delta, by boat. 

Italy, other than being one of the most important European destinations for the cruise sector, is also among the nations with the highest number of cruise company owners, offering sea cruises throughout the world. 

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According to a study by the Ente Bilaterale Nazionale del Turismo (the National Bilateral Entity of Tourism), in coming years the cruise industry in Italy will comprise 47 navigation companies, 148 cruise ships, and 12 regions and 66 ports visited along its coast.