Alexa J chose her summer retreat carefully. The Mediterranean is an abundant beauty, glorious and desired. Ionian Islands are a very small part of it, yet big enough for several lifetimes of exploring. Though the climate is cooler than in the rest of the country, the sailing season is the longest in Greece. Each of the islands has a distinct landscape and a unique history and culture. Mountains covered with olive and cypress trees, hundreds of incredible beaches, ancient temples, village festivals and that very special flavour of Ionian lifestyle makes the Ionian sea one of the best sailing destinations in the world. Corfu, Lefkada, Paxi, Ithaca, Kefalonia and Zakynthos – does not that sound like a song? Add the smaller, way less famous Othoni, Mathraki, Strofades, Erikousa, Antipaxi and there you have an orchestra of memories, complete with tastes and sounds, stories to be heard and to tell, all that aboard your own private sailing home.
The Amalfi Coast is one of Italy’s most piercing destinations. Here, mountains plunge into the sea in a nail-biting vertical scene of precipitous crags, cliff-clinging abodes and verdant woodland. Positano is the Amalfi Coast’s gem, with vertiginous houses tumbling down to the sea in a cascade of sun-bleached peach, pink and terracotta.
The island of Capri is famed mostly for its upscale hotels and shopping, from designer fashions to limoncello and handmade leather sandals. But Capri’s dramatic, cove-studded coastline and rugged landscape make it one of the most beautiful sailing destinations in the Med.
Calabria is at “the toe of the boot”, the extreme south of Italy – lapped by the splendid crystal blue Ionian and Tyrrhenian Seas and separated from Sicily by the Strait of Messina. The warm climate, the beautiful colors of the sea, rocky coasts that alternate with sandy beaches, a nature that is wild and mysterious, strong and genuine flavors of local food and its ancient heritage make Calabria a unique place to visit.
The legendary island of Sicily is a true crossroad of Mediterranean culture – Greek temples, Norman churches and Baroque palazzos are all part of its long history. A traveller is amazed by the diversity of sites – the historic cities of Palermo and Siracusa, the stunning rock formations of Scala dei Turchi,the Etna region with its volcanic landscapes, fertile wine country and picture-perfect Taormina; Ragusa, Modica and the other honey-hued Baroque towns of the south; the Greek temples of Agrigento, Selinunte and Segesta; Roman mosaics and frescos, miles of sandy beaches and secret rocky coves.
COAST OF PUGLIA
Facing the beautiful Ionian sea – calm and warm though out the long summers and well into the beginning of soft autumns – the coast of Puglia is less travelled, but full of amazing surprises. The white washed villages of trulli – the fairytale-like houses of the Nothern Puglia, charming fisherman’s towns perched high on the cliffs, beautiful long beaches and, of course, some honest hearty food and delicious wines make this district of Italy a true marvel.