Insider's guide: 6 of the best Italian superyacht destinations
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Capri, Tyrrhenian Sea

Cinque Terre’s colourful cliffside villages may be one of the first images that come to mind when you picture a private cruise or luxury yacht charter in Italy. However, concerns that overcrowding is damaging the UNESCO World Heritage Site in recent years is enough to encourage visitors to opt for alternative destinations.

Thankfully Italy's exquisite coastline has many other beauty spots and these six have been singled out by experienced superyacht owners who never tire of visiting them time after time.

1. Capri, Tyrrhenian Sea

Recommended by Peter de Savary, Gloria

This iconic island has been a favourite since ancient times. When the Romans were building their villas here 2,000 years ago, they discovered the ruins of even older civilisations. Today, you can still visit the remains of Tiberius’s palaces. The Marina Grande on the north coast offers berths up to 60 metres, but the more attractive option is the anchorage at Marina Piccola on the south coast.

This broad bay is guarded by three tall stack rocks and curving cliffs, with the small village clinging to the rocks. From here you are just a short drive on switchback roads to the diversions of Anacapri or Capri town. And make sure to dine at one of the many restaurants perched vertiginously on the rock face.

Picture courtesy of Jeremy Reddington/Shutterstock.com

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Panarea, Aeolian Islands, Tyrrhenian Sea

Recommended by Captain Magic, Sea Force One

Panarea may be the second-smallest of the Aeolian Islands, but it has the most dramatic geological formations that produce gorgeous coves and breathtaking scenery. The volcano here is inactive (unlike nearby Stromboli), but geothermal activity still provides hot springs near Punta di Peppe e Maria.

There are fewer than 300 full-time residents, but numbers swell when the summer sun brings fashionable visitors in search of elegant dining with spectacular views. And, although Panarea is off the beaten track, there is plenty of nightlife – with its luxurious and exclusive ambiance, it’s not uncommon for the island to seem the private preserve of superyacht owners.

Zimmari (also known as Baia Milazzese) provides a great secure anchorage; the sea is wonderfully clear, and there are good opportunities for diving and snorkelling over wrecks and volcanic rock formations.

Discover more about how to spend seven days in the Aeolian Islands on a superyacht.

Picture courtesy of Funkyfrogstock/Shutterstock.com

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Isola di Ponza, Pontine Islands, Tyrrhenian Sea

Recommended by the owners of Twizzle

Ponza has been called one of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean, and the owners of Twizzle agree that it is ‘a ridiculously romantic and authentic Italian island that makes you feel that a young Sophia Loren might just walk past at any moment.

The Italian elite head here to their private villas in the summer to revel in the clean turquoise water, natural rocky grottos, hidden coves and fishing ports. Chiaia di Luna beach (which used to be the most popular on the island), with its towering chalky cliffs and azure sea, can now only be approached by sea since it was closed following deadly rock falls. Isola di Ponza pulls off the trick of appearing unspoilt, yet the nightlife is lively and there’s plenty going on.

Excellent seafood restaurants such as Gennarino a Mare dot the island. You can moor at the restaurant’s own dock and then dine on decking that extends right out over the sea.

Picture courtesy of Loreanto/Shutterstock.com

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Positano, Amalfi Coast

Recommended by Joseph Vittoria, former owner of M5 (then Mirabella V)

Since the 1950s, people have flocked to this fishing village turned tourist hotspot to enjoy the restaurants and bars that adorn this glorious coastline. Of course, the best views of Positano are seen from the deck of a yacht anchored in the bay below: one of Joseph Vittoria’s abiding memories is ‘watching the city lights come on as the sun sets.

Whether you’re dining in Michelin-starred luxury or in a streetside café, look out for regional delicacies such as spaghetti with clams cooked with local extra virgin olive oil; fried anchovies tossed in mint, vinegar and garlic; and peppered mussels. For dessert, try a ‘babarese’ filled with cream and wild strawberries. If you need to work off any over-indulgence, you can visit the nearby Li Galli Islands, a protected marine reserve that offers great snorkelling and swimming.

Picture courtesy of Leoks/Shutterstock.com

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Porto Cervo, Costa Smeralda, Sardinia

Recommended by the owner of Farewell

Sardinia's north-eastern ‘emerald’ coast is still one of the most popular superyacht destinations in the Mediterranean. It’'s easy and quick to get to from mainland Europe and yet is off the mass tourism circuit – instead, it has been an exclusive enclave for half a century.

The entire 55 kilometre coastline was bought by a consortium led by HH the Aga Khan in 1961, and development has been controlled to produce a top-class destination among the fishing villages and coves. Sailors love the Costa Smeralda because of the wind, while everyone loves the beautiful coastline and appreciates the excellent onshore facilities.

Porto Cervo Marina lies in a well-protected harbour, and there are excellent hotels, restaurants and world-class shopping close by. The social whirl consists of regattas such as the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta, polo matches, film festivals and vintage car rallies. More pragmatically, there are good yacht repair facilities, and private jet and helicopter access at Olbia.

If you fancy visiting Porto Cervo discover more about seven days on a superyacht in Sardinia.

Picture courtesy of Aldorado/Shutterstock.com

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Venice

Recommended by Captain Magic, Sea Force One

This city in the sea has fascinated seafarers for centuries, and in Captain Magic’'s opinion, it is ‘the most beautiful city in the Mediterranean’. The Venice Yacht Pier offers a limited number of berths in the city (with a maximum draught of 5.5 to 9 metres), just a short walk from St Mark’s Square.

Otherwise, there are marinas offering deeper dockage just 10 kilometres away within the lagoon. From here you can explore more than 1,000 years of history among jaw-dropping architecture that attracts 20 million visitors each year. From June to September tourists swelter in the city (the world’s oldest film festival takes place in July/August), and February offers 10 days of Carnival. But the best way of experiencing this aquatic gem is by boat – to follow in Marco Polo’s wake and sail into Venice’s lagoon on your own vessel has to be one of the most romantic experiences you could ever have.

Read our guide to seven days from Rimini to Trieste via Venice on a superyacht

Picture courtesy of  Mariia Golovianko/Shutterstock.com

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