You’ll join the vessel at Viareggio on the mainland; the nearest airport is Pisa, just 15 miles away. You may find your crew has opera crooning from the speakers on your arrival — this is the birthplace of the man who wrote Madame Butterfly, La Bohème and Tosca. Giacomo Puccini lived and worked in nearby Torre del Lago and his home is open to the public. Head for the town, a health and seaside resort since the early 1900s, with art nouveau buildings and six miles of beach.
Before heading for the islands, soak up the local colour and culture of Tuscany – the birthplace of today’s Italian language ; you might discover a hidden gem. Lucca is the only town in Italy entirely surrounded by 16th-century ramparts enclosing impressive medieval and renaissance architecture, antique markets and great dining spots. Then depart for La Spezia to spend the night at Porto Lotti Marina.
La Spezia is smack in the middle of an enchanting stretch of the Ligurian Riviera and is the ideal base for visits to Cinque Terre — five petite villages perched on the cliffs over the sea that can be reached only by boat or a small train that rumbles between them. Hike the coastal Lover’s Walk that links Riomaggiore and Manarola. At Porto Venere — one of the most iconic Italian moorings — the harbour is lined with tall, vibrantly painted, 12th-century houses fronting narrow alleys that lead to the castle. Overnight, cross to Elba, arriving for breakfast.
This is the infamous island to which Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled in May 1814, but with crystal waters and a cliff-fringed coast, it seems like a lucky place to be stranded. Four miles inland, you’ll come to the Villa San Martino, Napoleon’s residence. Elba is now a destination in itself, with some charming restaurants and hotels. Explore one of the gorgeous bays before the yacht departs for Isola del Giglio.
Those yearning to relax on a golden beach will enjoy the pristine shores of Isola del Giglio, one of the best beaches in the Mediterranean. The town is dominated by a stone watchtower built by the Medicis. Further west is the small, pyramid-shaped, grey-pink granite island of Montecristo. From here, it’s a short hop to Porto Ercole on the Argentario peninsula.
Porto Ercole is a small gem of a city surrounded by a blanket of beautiful sand and rock beaches. It makes a great base for playing with the yacht’s water toys touring nearby Siena. Take a picnic lunch to the beach and, in the afternoon, you’ll anchor off the small island of Giannutri, the southernmost in the archipelago, stopping for the night before the cruise to your final port, Rome.
Pull into Roma Marina Yachting, the new marina in the historic port of Civitavecchia that’s set against the backdrop of an ancient fort. Head into Rome to scour the city for the best in Italian shopping on tree-lined boulevards dotted with outdoor cafes and fountains before catching a flight back home.