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Spending your holidays by the sea in Italy means discovering iconic seaside resorts and landscapes. From the coves of Sardinia, to the glamorous resorts of the Amalfi Coast. Speaking of about 8 thousand kilometres of coastline with a variety of breathtaking, wild and pristine beaches. Dive into the gentle waves of the Mediterranean and let yourself be soothed by its crystal clear waters.

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Nature

Ischia

Ischia: a paradise of dream beaches, nature and spas Remember Suddenly Paradise, Leonardo Pieraccioni's film shot almost exclusively in Ischia? Mind you, the title is by no means coincidental, and as soon as you set foot on this island of otherworldly beauty you’ll understand why. This is well known by the more than six million visitors who visit this island in the Tyrrhenian Sea every year. As the largest in Campania, they are attracted by this vast and morphologically varied territory: Ischia Ponte, a charming historic centre of narrow streets, alleys and old shops, and Ischia Porto, a small fishing village. Located at the northern end of the Gulf of Naples, and not far from the islands of Procida and Vivara, Ischia is the largest of the Phlegraean Islands. Fine sand and crystal-clear water If you’re looking for a large, comfortable beach, head for Chiaia in Forio di Ischia. If you’re looking for a dream beach with fine golden sand and crystal-clear green water, you should definitely choose San Montano Bay, a mecca for Instagrammers! The Bay of Sorgeto is also worth a visit, where you can bathe in a real hot thermal water spring that mixes with sea water. You’ll have to go down (and then up) 234 steps to reach it, but we assure you that it’s worth it. Thermal waters for care and pampering Ischia has been famous since Greek and Roman times for the therapeutic properties of its thermal springs. Try the Nitrodi spring, whose water is potable and has certified healing powers to treat gastritis and ulcers, as well as to facilitate urination. Applied to the body, it cures skin impurities and also has a healing effect. This is not the only place to pamper and treat yourself: you can choose from the many thermal parks, from Poseidon to the Gardens of Aphrodite, from Terme di Castiglione to Bagnitiello via the unmissable Casamicciola Terme. Plunge into history If you want to immerse yourself in the island's history, you should definitely visit the Aragonese Castle, built in 474 BC by the Greeks and connected to the island by the striking ancient bridge. The Torrione di Forio is also worth seeing, a strategic point from which sightings were made to anticipate invasions in times of war. Next door is the white, cliff-top Church of Soccorso, also known as Santa Maria della Neve. From this point at sunset, you can witness a very rare phenomenon: the green ray. It is an optical effect due to the refraction of light at sunset. Legend has it that whoever sees it will have good luck for life. If you also have time to pass through Borgo di Sant'Angelo, you’ll be enchanted by its colourful houses and enjoy dining at restaurants with outdoor tables and shopping in the many souvenir shops. Paradise for those who love trekking There are dozens of trails, from the simplest to those for experts to explore the wonders of the island, but three are absolutely unmissable: the Pietra dell'Acqua Trail, which passes by Monte Epomeo; Piano Liguori, which reaches the vantage point of La Scarrupata; and Pizzi Bianchi, along a canyon of white tuff pinnacles.
Nature
Stromboli - Isole Eolie, Sicilia

Stromboli

Stromboli: a trip to the foot of the volcano for complete relaxation The island of Stromboli is the most northerly island of the Aeolian archipelago and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, between Panarea and the Calabrian coast. If you’re planning a holiday to this enchanting destination, you will not miss the imposing volcano Mount Stromboli, one of the most active and perhaps unique volcanoes in the world with its three perpetually erupting craters. Walking on the giant's “skin” The locals have nicknamed the volcano Iddu, Sicilian for “he”, because of its small explosive flashes, repeated at intervals of about 15-20 minutes, and because of its perpetual grumbling and the periodic minor eruptions. Mount Stromboli is a volcano that commands a respectful awe from all who visit: with two-thirds submerged under the surface of the sea, over time humans have built settlements and communities on its back, for millennia we have continued to tread on its sensitive skin, almost teasing it a little. Disconnecting by reconnecting with nature The island is divided into towns, almost all clustered on the north-eastern side, where you will also find the main beaches: Scari, Piscità, San Vincenzo, Ficogrande and the town of Stromboli. On the opposite side, isolated and reachable only by sea, is Ginostra, a picturesque amphitheatre of huts perched on the rock: once a humble fishing village, it is now a unique and rather spartan tourist destination. Before planning a holiday in Stromboli, the first thing to remember is that only residents can drive motorised vehicles and there is no public transport. However, not to worry – it only takes twenty minutes to walk from one end of the town to the other! What’s more, there are several electric taxis that, at modest prices, will take you to your destination along the only kilometre of paved road. Rather than being an inconvenience, the scarcity of vehicles on the road will give you the pleasant feeling of truly being away from it all on holiday. A pitch black night, to count the stars The other thing to note is that there is no public lighting on the island, so we recommend always carrying a torch when you go out at night. The almost total darkness of the night gives an extraordinary brilliance to the canopy of stars twinkling above Stromboli, sure to delight stargazers everywhere and certainly the most romantic visitors. The island also lacks its own source of drinking water, which is transported there by tanker once a week in winter and three times a week in summer. The evening is the best part of the day! At sunset, while visitors in all the seaside resorts enjoy an aperitif, it is the ideal time to experience some of the main excursions. If you are properly equipped, in good health and accompanied by an authorised guide, you can trek up the back of the volcano to the summit, at an altitude of 900 metres, and admire the explosive activity of the craters – from a safe distance! Remember that things can change very quickly at Stromboli: sometimes, due to the conditions of the volcano, groups cannot depart or are forced to stop halfway. Also at dusk, you can head by boat from Scari to Sciara del Fuoco, the steep slope formed by lava, incandescent volcanic slag and lapilli that descends from the crater of Stromboli down into the sea. From the water, you can enjoy spectacular views of this river of fire flowing down the mountain. The black beaches of the Stromboli coastline Summer days should undoubtedly be devoted to enjoying the sea. Much of Stromboli's coastline is marked by high cliffs. The main beaches, almost all with shimmering black sand, are located along the stretch of coast from Ficogrande to La Petrazza. We recommend avoiding light-coloured swimwear. Pleased to meet you, Strombolicchio! A ten-minute walk from the hydrofoil landing takes you to Ficogrande beach, a cove bathed in sand and volcanic rock. Forgia Vecchia, however, wins the award for the most beautiful beach on the island. This rather wild expanse of black pebbles, smoothed by the water and wind, can be reached by land via a path from the nearby beach of Scari, below San Vincenzo, a town overlooking the iconic Strombolicchio. Legend has it that this volcanic sea stack, Iddu's younger brother, is the top of a volcano that was thrown into the sea during an eruption. A few years ago, it was designated a protected nature park: the lighthouse that towers above it, once gas-powered, is now 100% self-sufficient thanks to renewable energy.
Nature
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The Gargano National Park

The Gargano National Park, an island full of biodiversity The Gargano National Park is situated in the spur of Italy, the promontory extending into the Adriatic Sea in the northern part of Apulia. It is a unique area, where 35 per cent of all Italian botanical species can be found, reflecting an equally wide variety of landscapes, from the sea of the Tremiti Islands to important wetlands that lap against dense forests. This is an ancient land, rich in culture, art and spirituality, with a diverse beauty. A surprising microcosm of different habitats The guiding thread of every visit to the Gargano National Park is to observe the variety of its habitats, which is reflected in a mosaic of landscapes. In an area no larger than an average Italian province, you will discover fine sandy beaches interspersed with high cliffs with caves and natural archways, coastal lakes and wetlands, stretches of Mediterranean bush bordering on thousand-year-old forest, karstic plateaus with sinkholes alternating with hills and steppe plains on which there are white villages such as Rodi Garganico, Vieste, Peschici on the coast or Ischitella, Mattina or Monte Sant'Angelo, all with sea views. If we add to this the fact that, from a geological perspective, the promontory was originally an island separated from the rest of the Italian peninsula, the variety is further increased by the presence of endemisms, i.e. species that only exist in this region, for example the campanula garganica or the Tremiti cornflower. This explains why the Gargano promontory astonishes naturalists and will amaze you too. The sculpted landscape of the Gargano The high white cliffs of the Adriatic coast seem sculpted, and the karst valleys that the action of rain makes deeper and deeper also appear sculpted. There are at least 4,000 sinkholes, cavities of karstic origin, to be found in the park: the one at Pozzatina, in the municipality of San Nicandro Garganico, is the most impressive. It is 132 metres deep and looks like a basin covered by a dense wood of holm oaks and oak trees. On the coast are several caves and natural arches formed by the force of the sea, which can be visited by boat from the ports of Vieste and Peschici. The wetlands of the Varano and Lesina lagoons The first person to chronicle the wetlands in the Gargano park was none other than the Swabian emperor Frederick II (1194-1250). In his treatise De arte venandi cum avibus (the art of hunting with birds), he describes falconry and the birdlife he observed mainly in Apulia in the marshy areas of Frattarolo and Lake Salso, today in the municipality of Manfredonia, known as the Swamps of Frederick II, which are rich in reed thickets, ideal places for birdwatching. In the northern area of the park, behind the dunes, are the lakes of Varano and Lesina, basins of brackish water that were created by the accumulation of debris that filled in coastal bays. Today, the lakes are considered important wetlands, as resting stations for migratory birds on their way from northern Europe to Africa. The entire limestone area of the Gargano is also rich in springs and pools of water that are vital for amphibians and reptiles. The animals and plants of the Gargano park Among the animals you can see in their natural habitat in the park is the Italian roe deer, an endemic subspecies that only lives here, as well as numerous wild boars, fallow deer, weasels and wild cats. There are numerous birds nesting in the Gargano, around 170 species, including five different types of woodpeckers, diurnal birds of prey, ospreys, the rare lesser duck eagle, as well as ducks, herons, wild geese and flamingos. There are some centuries-old trees, true monuments of nature, such as the 13-metre carob tree in the park of Pugnochiuso, in the municipality of Vieste, or the two 30-metre high Aleppo pines in Vico Gargano, where there is also a 17-metre high holm oak with a 5-metre diameter trunk, near the Capuchin monastery. As for the beech forests of the Foresta Umbra, these were designated a Unesco Natural World Heritage Site in 2017. And then come the flowers: 85 species of wild orchids of all colours and shapes bloom in the clearings and steppe grasslands. The Tremiti Islands The archipelago of the Tremiti Islands, 12 miles off the Gargano coast, is also part of the park and is one of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean. Due to the crystal clear waters, the caves and the wealth of underwater life, they are a paradise for diving enthusiasts. There are five small islands, of which only two (San Domino and San Nicola) are inhabited, two others (Capraia and Cretaccio) are little more than rocks, while Pianosa is inaccessible because it is in the Protected Marine Area nature reserve. San Domino, where the accommodation establishments are located, is covered by a dense forest of Aleppo pines that descend to the sea, shading small sandy coves and rocks: the ideal place for those who love to be surrounded by nature alone for a holiday by the sea.
Nature

Monterosso al Mare

Monterosso al-fare/natura/mare Mare: holiday in luxurious nature Monterosso al Mare is the first stop to the Cinque Terre tour, this stretch of the Ligurian Riviera is included in the list of World Heritage sites by Unesco thanks to the respectful human interactions with its landscape, honouring it and its sublime beauty. Monterosso village is the biggest of the 5 that make up the Cinque Terre. It is the only one to boast large and beautiful beaches that are easy to access. Ideal for a family holiday enjoying the beauty of nature. Fegina beach, a stunning beauty The allure of the Cinque Terre is largely due to its rugged territory. In Monterosso, nature is uncontested. However, amongst the 5 villages of the coast, it is the only one to boast a wide, comfortable sandy beach, Fegina. Fegina beach is defined by Forbes magazine as “one of the 25 sexiest beaches in the world”. Starting from the train station, it’s quite convenient to access, you just go down a few steps and find your spot in the sun. You can choose the free section or areas serviced by bathing establishments. In the maritime area of the Parco delle Cinque Terre the water is breathtakingly blue, as it is in a protected zone. The coast is made up of sand mixed with pebbles. Children are at ease here so parents can relax on loungers. At the edge of the Fegina seafront you can also stop at the cliff by the Aurora tower. Slightly further on there is the small beach, Spiaggia della Stazione, at the end of the promenade, which points towards Levante. You’ll see the giants’ beach, Spiaggia del Gigante: recognisable by the large 14 metre statue depicting the god Neptune that dominates it. Immediately after the sailing club, it’s just a short wander to reach Portiglione beach. In the footsteps of a great poet: Eugenio Montale The poetry in I limoni e Punta del Mesco, (the lemon tree and the Cape of Mesco) from the Ossi di Seppia (cuttlefish bones) collection by the noted Italian poet and literary Nobel Prize winner Eugenio Montale, from Genoa is definitely worth a read. reading the verses you will invisage all the wonder of Monterosso al Mare. Its sounds and scents, the lyrical landscape denoted in his wording will captivate your senses. Montale spent his childhood holidays in the Liberty style family residence here. Named Villa delle Due Palme, although he recalls it as Pagoda Giallognola. It stands on the first slopes of Mesco, along he Fegina coast. The Eugenio Montale Literary Park was inspired by it. The house is now a private residence which offers accommodation in one section of it. You can admire it from the outside and also avail of one of the walks organised by the Literary Park Institution. The colourful houses in the village, the monuments and the vegetation combine to offer views of a tantalising mixture of culture and nature. Strolling in the village It is a pleasure wandering down the carruggi, the small streets of the Ligurian towns. You’ll enjoy the stairways and squares in the old village, speciality food shops, focaccerie, bars and restaurants. Take some time to visit the Church of San Giovanni Battista, its facade decorated with black and white stripes. The San Francesco Church with adjoining Capuchin Convent has precious paintings inside to view. From the outside you’ll find a magnificent view over the entire Cinque Terre coastline. 5 ideas for an unforgettable stay in Monterosso al Mare Monterosso is the perfect starting point, or finishing point when visiting Cinque Terre. The first recommendation would be to leave the car at Monterosso al Mare and get the train that follows the coastline. Comfortable, price efficient, eco friendly and you get to enjoy the fabulous views. Alternatively you could walk along the marked pathways. A visit to the Santuario di Nostra Signora di Soviore in the hills would be highly recommended. You can stay there overnight and book a table in the restaurant. For those who would like to get there on foot, there is a lovely path leading there from the village. Staying in a farmhouse in the hills, immersed in silence and greenery would also be an excellent choice. Lastly you could go to the pier and plan a boat trip to enjoy the wonders of the Gulf of Poets.
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