Andiamo alla Spiaggia! : Your Guide to Iconic Italian Beach Getaways
May 3, 2015
They say you don't go to Italy for the beaches. Some of you may resonate with this statement but personally, I strongly disagree.
There are a few beaches that sit right with my soul. Growing up in Southern California, I grew up with sand in my diaper and slept in my bathing suit during summer months. I am picky about beaches. I grew up liking the simplicity that California beaches brought. Waves here, grainy sand there, no fuss about what to wear or bring. So you could imagine my shock when I stepped into the realm of Italian beaches and was sucked in forever.
There a few reasons I believe that Italian beaches are awesome. Okay sure, you aren't getting the white sand affect that you would get in Hawaii or the waves you get in California. But goodness, are they beautiful (side note: and they are filled with beautiful people) and the water tends to be warm and like, hello- nobody ever complained about drinking bellinis and prosecco waist deep in the Adriatic and Tyrrhenian seas. I don't even care that these tend to attract tourists because its Italy. I'm so sorry, but your complaints are being drowned out by the sound of the boat I'm on. Please try again later after I've eaten the world's greatest seafood and had a few more granitas.
Isola dell'Elba If you have seen the major destinations (Capri, Positano, Cinque Terre, etc.), you on your way to being well versed in italian beaches. Take it to the next level and visit the biggest island in the Tuscan archipelago. Known for the white pebble beaches, Elba has stunning coves and small boutiques to stroll through.
Tip: rent a chair if the beach you go to offers it. Laying on a towel in the pebbles isn't exactly comfortable but then again, you are laying out in Elba. Can't really say you're roughing it.
Fun Fact: Napoleon was exiled here. Not going to lie, I don't feel bad for him.
Yes, this is how blue the water is. Let me guess, you are booking your flight right now? I would too. #tbt to a better time when I was tan, had long hair, and oh yeah- was chilling in the Tuscan Archipelago.
Positano If any Italians are reading this right now, I understand that you may hate me for putting this on here but understand a sight like Positano is something you will not, cannot see in America.
Positano is... how can I say this... the world's most beautiful and mystifying tourist trap that I will fully participate in time and time again. Every time I go to Italy I somehow make it to Positano. But here is the thing about Positano. You may feel touristy and slightly ashamed for giving into the six euro scoop of melting gelato but so are Italians. Yes! Italians come here because guess what, this place is jaw-dropping, tear jerking, heart renchingly (is that even a word?) beautiful. They are fully aware this place is jammed pack with tourists but stars (Sienna Miller, Reese Witherspoon, Hugh Grant, Hilary Swank, just to name a few... ) and native Italians alike flock here. Known for the tower of homes that wrap around a cliff that juts straight out into the iconic Amalfi coast, you can't help but think that life couldn't get much better.
Tip: Go grab a sandwich from The Wine Shop (my personal favorite is the traditional) and two (yes, two) mini bottles of prosecco or bellini and make your way to the water. Be careful though! Wear some sandals you can wear into the water or at least don't mind getting wet. The beach is a black pebble beach so in those hot summer months it really starts to burn if you stay on them for too long!
Fun Fact: Under the Tuscan Sun has a few scenes filmed in Positano. Spoiler alert: remember when Frances shows up to Positano in that stunning white dress only to find Marcello with another woman? How could you Marcello? We were rooting for you, we were all rooting for you.
It is a good day when you have two mini bottles of prosecco, a caprese panini on a black pebble beach on the Amalfi Coast.
Words and pictures do not do this place justice. You just have to see it for yourself.
Isola di Capri Capri, my love! My heart truly aches for Capri. A few words to describe this island are iconic, glamorous, and perfectly italian. If you are looking to experience Italian beach scene glamor, you'll find it in Capri. Capri is not a place to keep a tight budget with prices rivaling it's pals Monte Carlo, St. Tropez, Ibiza, and Cannes. Made famous by the Kennedy's, this is where Jackie O started her head scarf and oversized sunglasses trend. Capri pants - yes, name after the island- were made famous by Princess Grace and Audrey Hepburn. Also, caprese salad is derived from here. Clearly this place is the business.
Tip: go find yourself a granita stand stat! A granita is freshly squeezed orange juice or lemon juice with ice and if you ask for it, a healthy splash of vodka. Tart, refreshing, and truly the best way to start your day. The island is also famous for making custom sandals. I got mine from Carlos' which is halfway between the Marina and the top of the island, Anacapri. They also do a fabulous limoncello and chocolate tasting there. Custom sandals, alcohol, chocolate, and Italy. COULD LIFE GET BETTER?
Fun Fact: Dying to go to Grotta Azzurra? The island has a company or two who will take you out in row boats for the ultimate experience. Now, since this is a natural wonder of the world and an Italian monument, they ask that you please not swim. I would never tell you to jump on in (maybe I've done that, maybe I haven't), but if you ask nicely enough you just may get the chance from your guide to take a quick dip. But you didn't hear that from me.
NOTE: Capri is pronounced CAH-pree, not Cuh-PREE. Make sure to practice before you go! Italians love to correct those who mispronounce!
Can you taste the limoncello and calamari yet?
I'm just going to leave this here for you to enjoy.
Cinque Terre Much like Positano, this is the ultimate tourist trap that I get giddy about going back to. The name literally translate to "Five Earths" because of the five small coves side by side that make up these marvelous towns. Unlike Positano, Italians are far and few between here but don't let that stop you from visiting! If you go during the summer months, choose a town to post up in, get yourself to the nearest gelato stand and enjoy the people watching.
Tip: It is kind of a right of passage to hike between towns. It is steep and if you are out of shape like I was from eating pasta all day everyday, tread lightly and pace yourself but it is a must-do. Personally, I loved the hike from Monterosso to Vernazza. You will never forget the view after an hour and a half of what feels like stair master when you come upon the view of Vernazza from above. Just stunning.
Fun Fact: Contrary to popular belief, Cinque Terre isn't known for super stellar beaches BUT these are beach towns so this still counts, right? The beaches are rocky and you will fall, but you won't be the only one! The water in the coves is super warm and the rocks tend to be large so find one that suits you and stay and lay out for a bit.
View from the hike. Yes. Just, yes. An hour and a half of what I believe inspired the inventor of the stair master was beyond worth this view.