There are some incontestable travel truths, things that come what may visitors can count on finding in the places they visit: Jerusalem’s got Jesus, America has actors that turn into presidents, and Italy, mercifully, has not only La Cicciolina but also that mystical lady, the Mediterranean Sea. And lots of her: 4,722 miles of magical coastline spread out between the Ligurian, Ionian, Tyrrhenian, and Adriatic seas. Then there are Italy’s myriad lakes, from Lake Como in the north to Lake Bracciano in the south and many more. What all this adds up to is a whole lot of blue: and with more sunny days in Italy in winter than you might think, there’s nothing better, visually speaking, to sweep away the winter blues than by enjoying some of Italy’s blissful, all natural blues. Among many examples are:
Bay of Naples
The Bay of Naples is without a doubt one of the world’s most legendary bays, bordered as it is on the east by mean, mighty Mount Vesuvius, open to the Mediterranean on the west and flanked by the city of Naples itself on the north, and containing the Isle of Capri. One look at this storied ten-mile wide expanse evokes the fragrance of antiquity like few other places on Earth.
Italy is a Southern European country and it doesn’t get any more southern than little Lampedusa, an island even farther south of the Italian mainland than Sicily. In fact, geologically it’s part of Africa, and Tunisia is just 70 miles away. Lampedusa’s varied coastline is characterized by the bluest water in all of Italy. Check it out now: there are flights all year long from Palermo.
Portovenere, south of the Cinque Terre on the Ligurian Sea, was deemed sufficiently charming by The New York Times to earn it a spot on the newspapers list of 45 Places To Go in 2012. If the pretty fishing village and amazing seafood aren’t enough to convince you, then surely those delicious views across the blue bay of La Spezia will.
And God created Lake Como…and Lake Garda. As well as lakes Maggiore and Lugano. These and a few smaller ones are collectively the “Italian Lakes,” a northern necklace of glacial lakes with sumptuous shores and famous properties like the Villa d’Este and Villa Feltrinelli. But the most elemental attraction is the richly blue water itself. And unlike some of those big frosty American lakes, these ones won’t freeze over in wintertime.
They don’t call it the Emerald Coast for nothing: this 34-mile stretch of Sardinian coast sparkles like a big liquid gem in every season. The Prince Aga Khan made the area a playground of the rich and famous starting in the 1960s. And yes, emerald technically speaking isn’t blue, but we can guarantee you’ll see stunning azure waters too in these parts.
Lazio’s Luscious Blues
Not too many people outside of Italy know about them, but that’s what we’re here for! We’re talking about two great (as in super lovely) lakes very easy to get to from Rome. Both are crater lakes, volcanic in origin. The first is Lake Bolsena, at an elevation of one thousand feet. Lake Bracciano, somewhat smaller, is 20 miles northwest of Rome. Three charming towns pepper the lake’s 20-mile perimeter: Anguillara, Bracciano and Trevignano. Want to see just how blue a volcanic lake can be, even in the middle of winter? Just check out the lofty view from the Castello Orsini-Odescalchi, where Tom Cruise got married.
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