Travel Notes blog
Italy by sea: our favourite coastal gems
by Laura Bardell-Smith
8 min read

Italy by sea: our favourite coastal gems

Italy by sea: our favourite coastal gems
The breeze is warm as it gently caresses your face. You look out across the shimmering sea and feel an overwhelming sense of calm - there's nothing quite like the Italian coast. Here, we explore some of the many coastal gems that Italy has to offer.
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The evening is warm, and the sea breeze skims your bare shoulders as you look over the sparkling water. The sun has almost set, and you can hear the distant chatter of locals and the clink of glasses from across a cobbled piazza in the town. The air smells of salt and a note of jasmine from a nearby garden. You breathe it all in and idly ponder what you will be ordering later at your favourite little ristorante on the harbour. There’s nothing quite like spending your villa holidays in Italy, by the coast.


Holidays in Italy

Italy’s coastline has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to magical places. Locations dotted along the Amalfi Coast - like the world-famous Positano - capture the imaginations of thousands of visitors each year, while the Italian Riviera is a must-visit for those seeking glamour beside the Mediterranean Sea. But there is so much more to Italy’s coast than just Amalfi and the Riviera. In fact, mainland Italy’s coast stretches over 7,500km, and its islands contribute further miles of sandy beaches, charming coves and picture-perfect villaggi by the sea.

Our Local Specialists have shared some of their favourite coastal gems from all around the Italian coast and the Italian islands. Discover secret spots beloved by locals and destinations off the beaten track, then browse our hand-picked Italian villas. Please contact us for even more of our recommendations for rental villas in Italy or guidance in choosing the right villa for you.

1. Polignano a Mare, Puglia

Puglia forms ‘the heel’ of Italy and remains one of the country’s very best-kept secrets. As it is lesser known as an international holiday destination, Italians love this southerly region, which is lapped by the turquoise waters of the Ionian Sea to the east and the Adriatic Sea to the west. You can explore more in our collection of villas in Puglia.

Sitting on a limestone cliff above the Adriatic, travellers will find the hidden gem of Polignano a Mare. This stunning whitewashed town perches above the striking pebble beach of Cala Porto -  sometimes called Lama Monachile - and boasts spectacular coastal views. Here you will find Puglia’s contemporary cliff top art gallery, the Fondazione Museo Pino Pascali, as well as streets interspersed with pretty piazzas, perfect for sauntering through with a coffee or gelato. To soak up the local atmosphere, be sure to make a stop at the main square, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II.

For a well-situated base near Polignano a Mare, we recommend the relaxing Montaltini, which is 14km away, or the historic Masseria Palmieri, which lies just 13km from the town.


2. Santa Cesarea Terme, Puglia

A scenic 45-minute coastal drive from our peninsular villas - Villa del Faro and Villa Blanca - lies the spectacular Santa Cesarea Terme in the heart of Costa Otranto National Park. This cliff top hidden gem is a spa town, situated above natural hot springs that are rich in minerals. The thermal baths are not to be missed, nor are the religious grottoes that are located at the site of many of the springs. The legendary health-giving properties of Santa Cesarea Terme’s springs have attracted Italy’s wealthy families to the town since the 1700s. Their patronage helped develop the area, which is now rich in elegant avenues and magnificent palazzos. 

View our collection of luxury villas in Puglia.


3. Brucoli, Sicily

It is simply impossible not to fall in love with Sicily. This gorgeous Italian island lies in the Mediterranean Sea, ringed with beaches in Sicily, home to picturesque towns and full of spectacular food and colourful culture. Explore our Sicily villas for rent to uncover a hidden coastal gem all your own.

The town of Brucoli lies ten minutes from our exquisite villa, Baia dei Turchi, and a 25-minute walk from the charming Estiva. Beautiful sandy beaches can be found all around Sicily’s coastline, but Brucoli offers something unique: its coast features cliffs, rocky formations, natural caves and a pebble beach. The area is ideal for those who enjoy active days out spelunking, snorkelling, sailing and exploring.

Brucoli itself is a friendly fishing village with a few shops and restaurants, and a nearby Norman fortress. We recommend the town for those looking for a quiet holiday amid nature and welcoming locals.

View our entire collection of Sicily villas.

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4. Lipari, Aeolian Islands

Looking for an Italian coastal gem off the beaten track? Italy’s Tuscan Islands are home to virtually undiscovered coastal towns and gorgeous seascapes. Browse our ‘get-away-from-it-all’ villas on Italy’s Tuscan Islands, including the Egadi Islands and the Tuscan Archipelago.

On the Aeolian Islands, just north of Sicily and the ‘toes’ of the mainland, Lipari offers peace and tranquillity, as well as plenty of local colour. The island is home to the Aeolian archipelago’s largest town, which is also named Lipari. Nestled in a natural harbour on the island’s east coast, it is a small but charming place with a museum, harbourside bars, pretty streets and flower-bedecked balconies. The town is a mere 15-minute walk from Posidonia, our coastal villa on Lipari.


Spellbinding holidays on Italy’s coast

Discover enchanting Italian coastal locations and sea-view villas in our extensive Italian collections. We’ve handpicked some of our favourites to inspire you below.


1. Villa del Faro in Puglia

Just 45 minutes along the coast from the magical Puglian cliff top spa town of Santa Cesarea Terme, Villa del Faro sits at the very tip of Italy’s ‘heel’ in Santa Maria di Leuca. Set just above the town in lovely verdant grounds, this 12-person property includes an infinity pool with views of the sea and Santa Maria di Leuca’s pretty lighthouse. These breath-taking views give the property its name - ‘villa of the lighthouse’. Relax in the plunge pool jacuzzi and sauna, then enjoy al fresco Puglian food soundtracked by the outdoor sound system. If you’d like, we can book an in-house pizza chef for you. Alternatively, enjoy a 1km stroll into the town for a late supper and unrivalled local hospitality.


2. Baia dei Turchi in Sicily

Accommodating 13 guests, this magnificent Sicilian villa is a picturesque hour’s drive from Acireale’s unique volcanic rocks. Baia dei Turchi is a villa for relaxation, boasting a walk-in pool with sea views, hammam steam room, sauna and hot tub in its delightful grounds. We can arrange an in-villa cook, sessions with a private trainer, Sicilian cookery classes and massages, all within your villa. Noto, Syracuse and the Vendicari Nature Reserve are all within easy reach of this tranquil stretch of Silician coastline, and a peaceful, tree-lined beach is just a stone’s throw away.


3. Posidonia on Lipari

Enjoy the peace and natural beauty of Italy’s Minor Islands at Posidonia, a 14-person villa that is just 15 minutes from the charming town of Lipari on foot. The villa overlooks the turquoise sea, which laps the Aeolian Islands, and features views along the coast to Lipari and its castle. Posidonia’s hypnotising views can be enjoyed from the private pool - a real rarity on the Aeolian Islands - as well as from the property’s shady terraces and suntraps. We can arrange an in-villa cook to prepare delicious local dishes, or guests can make the most of the villa’s sleek, modern kitchen to prepare al fresco feasts - perfect for extended evening dining on the terrace while enjoying the warm weather.

Andiamo! (Let’s go!)

Contact our team if you’d like us to handcraft a personalised escape to Italy’s coast, just for you. Our team is here to assist you every step of the way, from creating itineraries that are second to none and answering any questions you may have during your holiday to helping you with lost luggage. Our collection of coastal villas in Italy boast some of the most spectacular sea views in Puglia, Sicily and the Tuscan Islands, all within easy reach of each regions’ hidden gems.

Are you ready to discover a holiday worth daydreaming about on the Italian coast?