Written by Missy Johnston
Cruise from Rome to Naples, Italy, on this exciting yacht charter itinerary which includes the Pontine Islands, Ischia, Capri, Positano, Amalfi and the Amalfi Coast. The secret Pontine Islands including Ponza and Ventotene, included on this itinerary are best explored by private yacht. The chic Naples Bay Islands including Capri, and the lovely Amalfi Coast including Positano, all make for a fabulous one week charter in Italy boarding in Rome and disembarking in Naples, Italy.
Rome – Naples
Day 1: Join your yacht at noon in Ostia, a resort beach town 15 minutes by taxi from Rome’s Fuimicino Airport. Settle in before departing for Ponza, part of the Pontine Islands.
Ponza, about 57 nm from Ostia, is filled with cliffs, caves, detached beaches and crystal clear water, making it one of the most beautiful islands of Italy and maybe in the entire world. Once the excursion destination for monks and recluses, a strategic base for Corsarian soldiers, and the land of fishermen, today Ponza is a paradise for scuba divers. Dinner can be enjoyed under the stars on the top deck or at one of the many little tavernas ringing the harbor in the town of Ponza offered fresh seafood. Or perhaps enjoy a cocktail ashore for people watching before dinner or coffee shore after dinner, with dinner on board. Overnight.
Day 2: Enjoy breakfast before wandering into town to explore this lovely little fishing village. Be sure to visit the Roman Tunnel, built by the Romans, from the town of Ponza through the island to Luna Bay. If wanted you can walk through the Roman Tunnel, which your yacht steams around to Luna Bay to send a tender ashore to pick you up. This is a great location to enjoy a swim.
Steam up the coast of Ponza past the many grottos, perhaps stopping to explore the grottos by ship’s tender, and then across to the uninhabited island of Palmarola, within sight of Ponza. Many consider Palmarola to be one of the most attractive islands in the world. Overnight for cocktails and dinner in a private anchorage off of Palmarola.
Day 3: Cruise in the morning to Ventotene, a small island – under three kilometers long – and one more suited to those looking for some serious peace and solitude. The island’s ancient and only port was dug out of the volcanic rock. Take the ship’s tender over to mooring balls off of Santo Stefano, about 1.5 kilometers away. Explore this small island, which is dominated by a prison, built by Ferdinand IV. Built around a circular courtyard, the prison was intended to reproduce the circles of Dante’s Inferno, another of Ferdinand’s brilliant ideas, but the type of architecture calls to mind the houses of Capri and Procida. The prison was closed down in 1965 and since then has enjoyed the peace and quiet of a deserted place. The cells are now inhabited by nesting swallows and nightingales, the parapets are a mass of blossoming gillyflowers and along the walls innocuous grass snakes chase fat lizards. Throughout the rest of the island wild vegetation has taken over what used to be cultivated fields.
Around the old ancient Roman Harbor in Ventotene, are Roman fish pools and a Roman shopping arcade still in use today. The main town is above the Roman shopping arcade and worth exploring, and perhaps visiting after dinner to sit in a local café for coffee. Overnight in Ventotene.
Day 4: Leave for Ischia in the morning. Ischia is a volcanic spa island with many sulfur springs and medicinal bathing areas. Deep underneath Ischia, the volcano is still active, and is sending to the island’s surface, hot thermal waters in springs and geysers laden with various minerals. A mineral laden volcanic mud is also found on Ischia, and used in spa treatments. Considerable scientific research has been done in Ischia over the years to isolate the mineral qualities of the various thermal springs and volcanic mud for the possible health benefits.
Don’t miss the historic Regina Isabella Hotel and extensive Thermal Spa. Once the hideaway for famous movie stars like Elizabeth Taylor, La Terme della Regina Isabella continues to offer high level medicinal and relaxation spa services and Thermal Plastic Dermatology Treatments for an afternoon of rejuvenation. And of course, there are pools of thermal waters for bathing, and baths of volcanic mud filled with minerals in which to soak. Your Captain can provide you a list of spa treatments available in advance and help make spa appointments.
Negomba Spa Pool, Ischia
Unique to Ischia are “Spa Gardens”, where thermal pools of various temperatures and mineral content are spread throughout a park like setting. Nogombo Spa Garden has sculpture gardens interspersed among mini thermal pools and springs, all cascading down a hillside, providing beautiful views of the Mediterranean Sea. At the bottom of the hillside, is the park beach for a refreshing salt water dip in the Mediterranean Sea after experiencing the various thermal pools. Portions of the park can be reserved for your group only, for an afternoon of private bathing and relaxation in the various thermal pools. Relax beside a steaming thermal pool and enjoy fresh shucked oysters and champagne, while taking in the view of the Mediterranean Sea.
Castello Aragonese, Ischia
Towards cocktail time, head to a local boutique winery. Ischia is steadily gaining worldwide recognition for the quality of the wines being produced. At the vineyard of Vigne di Chignole, have a tour of the ancient winery operation, still in use after many centuries, and sample the wines with a selection of tidbits, designed to accompany each vintage. With a call in advance from your Captain, dinner reservations can be made to enjoy local fresh foods, and the boutique wines on the winery piazza under the stars.
The island is very large with different towns and sights to see. On the southern end of the island is Castle Argonese, once a walled city housing over 2000 people. Today tour the inside of this once active fortified town. Overnight.
Day 5: Depart for Sorrento after breakfast. Sorrento was the “Surrentum” of the Romans, a resort famed for its scenery and climate. In the 19th century it was a popular winter resort for northern Europeans. Explore the charming town and the countryside noted for its citrus orchards, and also as the home of the Italian aperitif, Limoncello. Sorrento is also a great location to depart for a 45 minute drive to see Pompeii. A 3 hour guided tour can be arranged from Sorrento to see Pompeii, if of interest. A taxi will collect you at the marina to spend the day visiting the historic ruins. Earthquakes in A.D. 63 damaged Pompeii, Naples, and Herculaneum. Statues fell, columns were broken, and some buildings collapsed. Mount Vesuvius rumbled at this time. However, the people did not believe there would be more danger, and they repaired their cities. In the summer of A.D. 79, Vesuvius erupted suddenly and with great violence. Streams of lava and mud poured into Herculaneum, and filled the town and its harbor.
Day 6: Depart early in the morning for Amalfi, one of Italy’s most romantic villages, which clings to the dramatic slopes of the ruggedly beautiful Amalfi Coast. Visit Amalfi town and the Cathedral. Take a taxi up and have lunch at Ravello village, with its spectacular views of the coast and magnificent villas. Step inside the Villa Rodulfo, where the view is the most spectacular.
In the afternoon motor on to Positano, built around a small curving bay on a steep hill overlooking the island of the Sirens. Once a sleepy fishing village, Positano is one of the most picturesque towns on the Amalfi coast. The typical Moorish style houses are lined up along the slopes facing the sea. Steep steps, narrow lanes, courtyards and gardens furnish the rest of the town. This is the home of the Capri sandal, and there are many little boutiques and shops up the winding alleyways and walking streets. Steam to Capri to overnight dockside in the harbor. After dinner head up to the village on the top of the town, which has a very active and chic nightlife. This is the location for nightclubbing, if of interest with the European jet set.
The Amalfi Coast
Day 7: Remain in Capri, which overlooks the stunning Bay of Naples and Mount Vesuvius, and has always been one of the favorite resting places for the privileged. Once home to the Roman Emperor Tiberius, Capri now serves as the perfect getaway in which to experience Italy’s natural, scenic beauty.
Spend the day exploring the extraordinary beauty of Capri, where the Blue Grotto, the charming landscape, and the views of Anacapri, makes this an interesting stop. While Capri has some Roman ruins and a monastery, the following places are also worth a visit if time permits: Certosa of San Giacomo (XIV century), Palazzo Cerio (XV century), and the Villa of San Michele in Anacapri, known for its’ marvelous garden.
Capri has two levels. There is a walking and shopping area right around the marina. However, the main town, on top of Capri, is accessible by funicular and is lovely with its upscale, tiny shops and many street cafes. The shopping street is quite famous and here you will probably find a store from every important designer. Wander the streets and shops, and stop for refreshment at an outdoor café in one of the little piazzas as you watch Capri life go by. Overnight.
Day 8: Early morning departure for a two-hour steam to Naples to disembark.