Insider’s guide: 4 hidden gems in the Adriatic to discover by superyacht


Sleepy boats yawning in the harbour, towns that shut down in the heat of the long siesta and sunsets brimming with the scent of limoncello and the freshest seafood, or dazzling celebrity havens where movie stars and princes come out to play – the Adriatic is a veritable wonder with two very different sides.

Captain Carl Sputh of superyacht Starfire reveals four hidden gems if you are planning a private cruise or luxury yacht charter in the Adriatic.

1. Procida

Far from the madding crowds you will find an island where sleepy boats bob like distant dreams in the harbour, where old men sit with crinkled faces turned to the sun, and where simple white linen tables are laden with fresh fish caught in the bay. Procida is the Italy of many moons ago. The setting for Anthony Minghella’s 1999 film The Talented Mr. Ripley, the island is a must for anyone wishing to visit movie locations on a luxury yacht. Narrow streets of crumbling stairs wind around the town, a curve of sand perched between golden rocks and flanked by visions of cobalt blue invite you to creep into the water in the heavy heat of the afternoon, and stores are crammed with antiques and curiosities from another time and place.

Picture courtesy of  Francesco R. Iacomino/


The Aeolian Islands with their smouldering volcanoes and natural riches provide a explorer's paradise for those slipping around the seas of Sicily on a luxury yacht. Perched beneath the pretty shades of Panarea you can find one of the truly hidden gems to tiptoe quietly into the Adriatic – beautiful Basiluzzo. The smallest of the islands in this collection, the waters are as blue and clear as the midday sky. When the sea is calm you can admire the Roman ruins lapped away by the kiss of time. Basiluzzo is the perfect island for snorkelling across the glazed waters, picnicking on Parma ham, ripe old cheese, and olives fat and black in the baking sun.

Picture courtesy of Angelo Giampiccolo/


It may not be considered the world’s best kept secret but the city that fell to ash and fire remains as compelling and preserved in tragedy as it did that fateful day in 79AD. The shadow of Mount Vesuvius looms foreboding in the background and the cobbled streets tinged with smoke can be eerily quiet if you find a time without the tourist hordes. In the Villa of Mysteries you can put the pieces together of the sparkling Dionysian dream Pompeii was before doom rolled down from the mountain.

Drop anchor in the lively Bay of Naples and head the short distance into the hills to see the shallow cool pools of the baths, the mighty marble seats of the Amphitheatre where the scent of blood still clings to dirt, and the crumbling ceiling once carved in great intricacies. Pompeii is a living museum that holds the dead in the palm of its hands. Of course one of the major macabre pulls of this parched city are the bodies, those stark reminders of a day the world fell, coating Pompeii in a living hell and preserving it for all of history.

PIcture courtesy of Viacheslav Lopatin/


With beaches carved from dark gold and blue, celebrity clientele, and a famous sushi bar perched on the port for sunset tipples, Panarea blends the super modern world of wealth with a rich heritage of Bronze Age huts and mythology. This isn’t the place to go for rest and rejuvenation but the perfect spot for dropping anchor and spending your days alternating between swimming in the cooling blue and partying with the summer visitors. Vespas tear up the streets, boats bob from the rocky shallows ferrying those who want to sip Champagne in the sun from one islet to another, and sophisticated restaurants splash the main street flanked by high class villas painted in beautiful pale cream hues.

Princes wander barefoot from their bougainvillea lined gardens out into the shade of rocky coasts, starlets lean over their porches with a glass of lemon soaked white nursed in their hands, and small vineyards flourish with the salt from the sea and the gauze of the sunshine. After a fresh dose of sushi at the famous Bridge Bar, you can head to the achingly cool Hotel Raya for a freshly squeezed cocktail with the elite crowd.

PIcture courtesy of  Funkyfrogstock/

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