Roadtrip Guide through the Coast of Italy
Say Buongiorno to some of the most stunning scenery in the world on the coasts of Italy. You’ll find buildings jutting out over rugged cliffs, sunbathers lying out on the beautiful sands just below, and hiking trails all within a few feet of one another. Tourists flock to the coast during summer to get a piece of the action, but we’ve got some tips and tricks, so you can have a calming or adventurous vacation without massive hordes.
Interested in climbing steep cliffs to overlook the Mediterranean Sea? You can do that. Interested in a romantic getaway around the coast on a luxury yacht? You can do that too! The possibilities are endless in Italy for a long day exploring the beautiful coast. As long as you end with some traditional Italian food with stunning views, your trip is sure to be a hit.
We’ll start our trip in Genoa on the northwest coast of Italy. Explore the old-town for a historical lesson in ancient landmarks dating back hundreds of years. You can see the Romanesque Cathedral of San Lorenzo with its famous black and white façade or walk down smaller side streets for some delicious gelato on a hot day. With a rich history in shipping, learn more about Genoa’s importance at the Maritime Museum.
With boats in mind, stroll down to the harbor where fishermen and stalls will greet you with their smells Sit outside a café to see the sights and sounds while enjoying the freshest food around.
From Genoa, drive down the coast a ways and enjoy stunning views along the way. If you’re not an expert driver, maybe practice before you go; the views are beautiful but it’s a long way down. Since Livorno is located in western Tuscany, you know the food and wine will be excellent. Make your way through town with stops at local trattorias where you can sample the cuisine of the area.
For an active adventure, you can walk along the coast to Cala Del Leone along the beautiful waterfront lined with flowers. There are secluded spots and coves great for a romantic picnic. We won’t tell anyone if you drink a bottle of the regions’ famous wine. At the end of this walk you’ll see an imposing castle on the edge of the cliffs overlooking the water. If you have time, head to nearby Pisa for an iconic photo with the Leaning Tower.
Next, we’ll drive from Livorno to Naples further down the Italian coastline. It’s a long drive, but the scenery and small towns in between make it worth it. Make a pit stop in Rome on the way to see famous and historical landmarks like the Colosseum. Once you arrive in Naples, you’re greeted with quaint streets, friendly locals, and…pizza. This is the birthplace of this sacred pie (or so they say), so you’ll find the crispiest crust, freshest mozzarella, and finest tomatoes for the perfect pizza.
Stroll down the streets and grab a slice, or two for the road. People have been known to scarf down whole pies they taste so delicious. After you’re full, take the Aerial Tram up the hills and enjoy views of the town and sea from the top. Walk around Largo San Martino until you wander into the Spanish Quarter, affixed with splendid houses and small shops perfect for a souvenir or photo.
Drive from Naples through the countryside lined with vineyards and farms to the port city Bari on the Adriatic Sea. This small town is thousands of years old and still has relics and ruins from the time. Visit the Basilica of Saint Nicholas built in the 1100s and still holding some of his remains; and the Cathedral of San Sabino for beautiful architecture. The streets are long and narrow with old buildings lining your path.
Just off the ocean is a small port favored by sunbathers during the warmer months. You'll find small cafes just off the shore, but if you really want an adventure, plunge from the cliffs into the crystal blue waters and swim back to shore. From here you can dry off with a bike ride around town or in the warm sun.
From Bari, you can drive up the eastern coast of Italy to Termoli. For any outdoor lovers, a stop in Gargano National Park is a must. It’s not a big tourist destination but has the same amazing scenery and cliffs as other towns in the country. Since it’s a protected area, wild flowers, woodlands, and animals abound.
Once you reach your destination, it’s a tight squeeze. Termoli has some of the most narrow streets in all of Europe, and that’s saying something. Houses are vividly painted in bright pastels and there’s always fresh produce in the port. When you’re at the port, see the authentic and original trabucchi, wooden structures used to catch fish without boats. You can’t get on (probably a good thing), but you can watch people at work using the same methods of their ancestors. This small town is almost untouched by foreigners, so try to brush up on your Italian before a visit.
By: Devyn Woolsey
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