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Where to dock in a roadstead in Italy, 8 beautiful and little-used mooring sites

8 places in Italy where boating in a roadstead is a dream

4 minutes

Those who love holidays at sea will surely know what it means to experience life on a boat in a roadstead. When finding a place on the quayside at the marina becomes an insane, almost impossible task, or the call of nature becomes overwhelming, equipping oneself to 'stop at a roadstead' or ’stop at anchor' is almost always the best choice.

But what is meant by a roadstead? A roadstead is a natural or artificial marine inlet that is bordered by rocks and the coastline, creating a proper barrier that protects boats in the event of bad weather, but also offers an alternative opportunity for exploring coves, small, hard-to-reach beaches, coves, sheltered shores and landscapes of unspoilt nature.

Ideal for anchoring up and spending a poetic night being lulled by the sea, escaping the hustle and bustle of the marinas, mooring in a roadstead requires a few measures but offers some of the most beautiful experiences that a sailing holiday can give you. It starts with the sunrises that tinge everything pink and gold.

The Italian coasts are full of places to anchor, all wonderfully scenic and perfect for turning sailing holidays into unforgettable adventures. So we have selected the most beautiful and less conventional spots, perfect for a break immersed in beauty.

Seno di Paraggi, Portofino, Liguria

Seno di Paraggi

A single adjective can describe it: enchanting. Seno di Paraggi is undoubtedly one of Italy's most beautiful roadsteads. Situated north of Portofino, a renowned Ligurian tourist resort and always a chic destination, it is a cove bordered by the beach and a small village, perfect if you want to take a trip to the mainland. Suitable for mooring only when the weather is good, it is also convenient for stepping ashore and enjoying the beauty of its surroundings, savouring the rich local cuisine in the many typical restaurants and doing a spot of shopping in exclusive boutiques.

Palmaria Islet, Porto Venere, Liguria

Porto Venere

Marking the end of the Golfo dei Poeti is Porto Venere, a charming fishing village with a harbour opposite where you can drop anchor. The roadstead of the Isolotto della Palmaria is charming, but requires caution: some local boats moor there permanently.

Porto Capraia, Capraia Island, Tuscany

Island of Capraia

The Porto Capraia roadstead, which can be seen directly in front of the harbour, overlooking the village, is one of the best known to seafarers and also one of the most picturesque. A rugged and impervious roadstead, this is ideal for experienced sailors and allows anchoring, only when the weather is stable, on the south side. The seabed is composed of sand and seaweed.

Cala Cannelle, Giglio Island, Tuscany

Cala Cannelle, Giglio Island, Tuscany

Again in Tuscany, another popular landing place is Cala Cannelle, south of Giglio Porto. The roadstead is wide and well equipped, and there is a bar and restaurant for refreshments within easy reach. You can also visit the port village, which is full of bars and attractions. Anchoring takes place in 6-10 metres of water. 

Cala di Feola, Ponza Island, Lazio

Cala di Feola, Ponza Island, Lazio

Cala Feola in Ponza is a practical and charming alternative to the island's chaotic harbour. Located on the opposite side of the town, you only need to take a bus to reach it or explore the entire island.

Afraid of getting bored? Not here! You'll be spoilt for choice with the many attractions in the area to throw yourself headlong into after docking. You can visit the natural tunnels in the bay, the fascinating caves and the famous Truffle Houses created in the tuffaceous rock, to name but a few. Gourmets will appreciate the many excellent restaurants offering typical Ponza cuisine.

Marina Piccola, Island of Capri, Campania

Marina Piccola

Being able to moor in Capri for the night is a feat for the fearless who are not afraid of the hustle and bustle.

The easiest alternative is the Marina Piccola roadstead, an open anchorage facing the village, full of shops, bars and restaurants from which it is easy to get around. The view is breathtaking: the Faraglioni, Capri's icon, are a short distance away, and the whole coastal landscape is postcard-perfect.

Cala di Corricella, Procida Island, Campania

Procida Island

It stands out among the most fascinating thanks to a panorama that is pure poetry: the Cala di Corricella roadstead on the island of Procida is considered among the most beautiful and evocative in the Bel Paese. The experts' advice is to settle near the cliffs or in front of the Chiaia beach, from which restaurants and attractions can be easily reached. This small cove lies in front of the village with its castle and small harbour, the perfect destination for an excursion that will fascinate young and old alike.  

Cala Santa Maria, Santa Maria Island, Sardinia

Cala Santa Maria, Santa Maria Island, Sardinia

Sardinia also offers several fascinating anchorages, but one of the most popular is Cala Santa Maria. Located within the Maddalena National Park, it is rocky and overlooks a beautiful beach, but requires great care when mooring: it has two shallows at its entrance.

It is isolated and not the ideal destination for those seeking entertainment and activities, but it is perfect for enjoying unspoilt nature and spending a romantic and relaxing night.

Living while at anchor is perhaps the best way to enjoy the wonder of a boating holiday, sailing in the open sea, sleeping in total darkness, waking up to the sound of the sea and bathing in paradisiacal water inlets. To try it is to never go back. Be warned.

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