Italy luxury yacht charter

Awash with elegant cliff-top villages and tempting cruising grounds around every corner, a luxury yacht charter is one of the best ways to discover all that Italy has to offer. Whether cruising around the unspoilt Aeolian islands, touring the impossibly pretty towns of the Amalfi coast and picture-perfect Capri, hitting the hotspots of Sardinia or revelling in the world-famous cuisine, culture and heritage of Tuscany and its islands, the  Italian Riviera is always a good idea for a summer yacht charter.

Credit: Unsplash

Italy yacht season and weather

The peak summer months of July and August provide warm, sunny days with highs of 30°C. During August, many Italians take the entire month off work, meaning resorts and coastal areas are very busy. June and September offer quieter cruising grounds and very pleasant temperatures.

Climates do vary from north to south, with the south generally experiencing milder winters. In October, Sicily often has long, warm sunny days with temperatures still in the mid-20s.

Italy yacht charter itineraries

La Spezia’s Porto Lotti can accommodate yachts up to 180 metres and Porto Mirabello has capacity for yachts up to 140 metres – both good jumping-off points for Portovenere and the Cinque Terre. Rome Marina Yachting is in the port of Civitavecchia and has berths up to 100 metres. The marina is an hour and 15 minutes from Rome by car. On Sicily, Marina di Riposto is an ideal base for visiting Mount Etna and Catania, is six nautical miles from Taormina and has moorings for yachts up to 80 metres. Porto Cervo marina on Sardinia has moorings for yachts up to 120 metres. Porto di Mergellina in Naples has moorings for up to 75 metres.

Awash with old Hollywood glamour and synonymous with Italian aristocracy, the Amalfi coast is one of Italy’s most famous and coveted cruising grounds. Departing from Naples and the shadow of the volcanic peak of Vesuvius, charterers can venture 20 nautical miles to the low key isle of Procida, then take a 10 nautical-mile passage to the volcanic wonders of Ischia, hop south to the famed isle of Capri before cruising 20 nautical miles to Amalfi and the neighbouring gems of Ravello and Positano. For those wanting a mix of city and sea, charters can also make an overnight passage and arrive for sightseeing in Rome.

The island of Sardinia is a superyacht magnet and its famous Costa Smeralda attracts the yachting elite every summer. Mixing Michelin restaurants and five-star hotels with kaleidoscopic bays, sublime beaches and celebrity haunts such as Porto Cervo, Sardinia is one of the hottest charter destinations in Europe.

Charters in the Tuscan archipelago are equally bewitching, with the islands of Elba, Gorgona, Capraia, Montecristo, Giglio and Giannutri home to pristine shores, stunning coves and charming villages steeped in history. The islands form a convenient stepping stone between the coastline of Tuscany and Corsica, allowing charterers to combine the delights of Italy and the French island in on trip.

Further north the pearls of the Ligurian coastline, the UNESCO protected Cinque Terre, comprise the picture-perfect towns of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore cling to the cliffs, while romantic Portofino is a must-visit.

For natural wonders and more off-the-beaten-track adventures, the volcanic Aeolian Islands lie 25 miles off the north-east coast of Sicily and provide a varied and stunning itinerary. Sicily itself has also catapulted onto the charter scene, with an enticing mix of secret grottos, secluded coves and glittering beaches.

Italy by superyacht

Getting to Italy

The mainland has a host of international airports that handle commercial and private aircraft including those in Naples, Rome and Pisa.

Sardinia’s three airports of Olbia, Alghero and Cagliari all handle commercial and private jets.

Catania and Palermo airports in Sicily handle private and commercial aircraft.

Common charter routes in and out of Italy include crossings from the Adriatic and Croatia, and crossings from the French Riviera and western Mediterranean.

Legal requirements

Official documentation required from the crew for charters must be sent to the Italian authorities at least two weeks prior to arrival.

Yachts based in the European Union, on which VAT has already been paid or is not applicable, are welcome to enter Italy from any other EU country without having to undergo customs formalities. Vessels arriving from outside the EU must report to customs on arrival, however. The current VAT rate of 22% is reduced for yachts depending on how much time they have spent cruising in waters outside of the EU. 

There are some local laws concerning where to anchor and swim, which can be punishable by fines. It is illegal to swim in an Italian harbour, so swimmers must dive in further out from shore. 

Except when entering or leaving, motoring within 300 metres of the shoreline is forbidden. It is also prohibited to anchor within 200 metres of a beach in Italy.