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ITALY – Naples’ Gulf

There is nothing new in the fact that the coast of the Campania region (Italy) are, as far as holidays are concerned, one of the best stages for cruises. Traffic is certainly the heaviest, but by choosing accurately dates and times and avoiding week ends, one can enjoy one of the world’s best scenery.
Many Italian and Amalfi yacht charters begin in Naples. Naples is a city with a distinct energy – chaotic yet charming, cluttered yet beautiful. Rather daunting to the virgin eye, Naples has a way of shedding your inhibitions, to present a proud and colorful culture, with an alluring hospitality. Naples is the yacht charter hub of southern Italy and the gateway to Capri and the Amalfi Coast. The Island of Capri and Amalfi present some of the most spectacular coastlines of the whole Mediterranean.
From Naples, you can begin your yacht charter vacation by visiting the stunning and famously chic, Island of Capri, the true jewel of the Gulf. This beautiful island has a mythical appeal which has attracted everyone from Roman Emperor’s, to movie stars and supermodels. Capri also attracts hundreds of yacht charters each summer. It was not by pure chance that Emperor Augustus, coming back from Egypt, fell in love with the place, bought and elected it as his favorite home. Tatter Emperor Tiberius brought it to fame giving to the island that particular, slightly transgress atmosphere that has been transmitted to our days by modern tourism. Who has not heard of the Blue Grotto or the incredible cliffs, the Faraglioni, last remnants of what once was a unique and immense grotto? Other highlights of this remarkable island are Villa Jovis and the Solaro mountain, 589 meters high and easily climbed with a seat lift, from where one can enjoy the entire gulf’s view. The locally famous cable car will take you from Marina Grande to the equally famous little square where the entire Capri lifestyle is on permanent show. Due to the tourist flow, heavy and steady regardless of the season, the island is not worth visiting in daylight hours: hordes of tourists from everywhere continuously land and wander here. Those lucky enough to have a yacht moored nearby will better enjoy the island best site. With the last ferry gone to the main land , the island’s population stabilize at acceptable levels and, especially in the cold season the entire place is yours together with the romantic paths, the sophisticated restaurants, the juicy ice cream parlors of that unique establishment making mozzarella cheese braids billed with prosciutto and tasty herbs. Capri has two main marinas, which over summer, are brimming with super yachts. If you’re keen on a berth, you’ll need to book well in advance, and be willing to pay a princely sum. Many charter yachts therefore choose to anchor outside the marina. If you tire of the chic nightlife, you can find some gorgeous, secluded little bays to snuggle into for the night. From the Marina Grande entrance and turning anti-clockwise, one reaches the Blue Grotto; the place is easily identified by the numerous rowing boats standing nearby. By calling one of them you can, tide permitting, visit the grotto inside and enjoy a view found nowhere else. After rounding the Arcera Cape and Carena Point the southern island’s part is reached. Marina Piccola will offer only a series of small landing piers offering brief and relative shelter to small boats; continuing coastwise one reaches the “Faraglioni” area, ideal for an unforgettable swim if the season is right, followed by a lunch in one of the restaurants behind Tragara Point reachable after a pleasant pram ride. There will be ample time to complete the island’s circumnavigation and be back at the Marina Grande moorings, ready to face the intensely passionate Capri’s night life.
The closest to the main land, and the less known to sailing wanderer, is Procida island which by no means is less attractive then the others, better known, islands. Completely built with yellow tuff rock and with orange trees scattered everywhere, Procida convey the unspoiled glamour of the old sea towns. The housing conglomerate called the “Palazzata”, resultant of a very liberal and randomly executed construction minus a proper building plan, has produced an architectural ensemble typical of the location and not found elsewhere. Inland, in the hart of a boroughs called Terra Murata, a huge parade ground overlooks the Saint Michael abbey rebuilt during the Spanish rule after being destroyed by the Saracens. Circumnavigating Procida, shelter can be found at the Vivara islet connected to the shore by an artificial isthmus. The islet which seats a natural park, is covered by a thick vegetation and a lookout tower stands at its top. The cove formed by the two islands make for an excellent anchorage; alternatively one can call at Chiaolella harbor.
Other islands in the Campania area around Naples include Ischia. Ischia is a pine studded, volcanic island surrounded by sparkling waters. The island is renowned for it’s beautiful beaches, therapeutic hot springs and red and white wine producing vineyards. Inhabited since the pre-roman times, the island was famous for its clay used to carve vases and useful containers and in the third century B.C. suffered of volcanic eruption which left a salt lake in place of the volcano mouth. The lake was to remain separated from the sea until the last century when king Ferdinand the Second ordered to dig an opening obtaining a natural harbor that was christened by the royal yacht “Delfino” escorting more than one hundred boats and giving to Ischia the safest port one can seek. Above all, the call at Ischia is worth for a visit to the renown thermal baths, last remainder of the island’s volcanic origin, and where with a water temperature of 65 degrees C one is washed as well as properly purified and healthily refitted.
Another anchorage is found at the Carta Romana road, close to the Aragonese castle built by Gerone of Syracuse an lava islet and overhanging the sea. The castle was conquered by King Alphonse of Aragona who exploited a newly built bridge to capture it. Since then, this particular place is named Ischia Ponte, the Italian name for bridge. This pristine and charming place, not too distant from the Saint Anne reefs, is a preferred diving site where in water depth no more than ten meters the ruins of Aenaria, a pre- roman hamlet destroyed by a volcanic eruption on 130 B.C., can be inspected. Navigating anti-clockwise. the nearest landing is at Cassamicciola, a place renown since the Middle Age for its healing waters. Lacco Ameno, Forio (with his small church and Mount Apium, 800 meters high) an be easily reached as well as Sant’Angelo. Luxury yachts and superyachts tend to frequent Ischia as a part of the overflow from the hectic pace on Capri.
South of Naples is the famous buried city of Pompei and the less well know Herculaneum. These cities, buried by the volcanic eruption of Vesuvius, have remarkable antique preserves. The observation of amphitheaters, triumphal arches, villas, bridges and tombs of the Roman Imperial Age, are all possible on this fasinating day on shore.
The maritime heritage of the Amalfitan Republic, a superpower in its day, is still apparent in Amalfi today. Local craftsmen and artisans keep the old traditions alive, making fine handmade papers and colourful ceramics. The Amalfi Coast is a World Heritage Site, and deservedly so: Numerous churches – including Amalfi Cathedral – and villas from the city’s golden age still dot the coast, blending together with the stunning nature.
Further down the Amalfi coast is the medieval town and seaside resort of Agropoli, dominated by a crenulated old lighthouse and a feudal castle. You can take a taxi to visit the spectacular temples at Paestum or the sandy beaches in Trentova Bay to the north of the town. The village of Amalfi is a short sail away from here.
As with other parts of Italy and the Mediterranean, the Naples and Capri yacht charter season generally runs from April to the end of October. The summer season in July and August is the hottest and tends to have lighter winds. This is also the high season as far as yacht charter goes. Other good times to charter your yacht is generally on either of the shoulder seasons (April-May and September-October), each side of the main summer season, as the temperatures are still comfortable, and the onshore tourists have yet to arrive in their largest numbers.