It continues with the fourth installment, devoted to the Ionian Sea and the central and southern Adriatic, our journey to discover the main marinas and equipped harbors of the Italian coast: we will start with an overview of the mooring situation (complete with indicative prices), then we will indicate an ideal itinerary and finally we will propose the “big list” of marinas in the analyzed area.
There are several and very different Italian regions that are part of this maritime “district”: starting with Calabria and continuing with Puglia, Molise, Abruzzo and Marche. That is, the entire Ionian coast and a good half of Italy’s Adriatic coast, in which a total of 25 marinas with approximately 22,500 berths within them are available to boaters. This number is mainly due to the reception capacity of marinas in the central Adriatic (here there are about 15 thousand moorings available), while along the Apulian and Ionian coasts there is still ample room for improvement and increased receptivity. On the other hand, although there are not so many berths here, the costs remain on average among the lowest in Italy, that is, between a minimum of 2,500 and a maximum of 4,00 euros for a twelve-meter boat. In addition, here most marinas are integrated with the town center, of which they are often the real heartbeat. The tourism boom that Puglia in particular has been experiencing in recent years has sparked a whole series of projects to create new facilities, especially in the Gargano area.
A tour around Calabria
Just across from Sicily is also the beautiful Reggio Calabria, Calabria’s first city and famous for the Falcomatà waterfront, the Cathedral and the Riace Bronzes housed in the Archaeological Museum. Passed the Strait of Messina and entered the Ionian coast: the stretch of coast surrounding Cape Spartivento is the so-called Jasmine Coast, a low coastline surrounded by extensive cultivations of fragrant citrus trees. Then you encounter small seaside jewels such as Gioiosa and Roccella Ionica. After Monasterace and Punta Stilo, the Gulf of Squillace opens instead, on which the regional capital Catanzaro also peeps out. And the bay closes with the beautiful Capo Rizzuto Marine Reserve. Protected to the north by the mass of Punta Alice, there is Cirò Marina, a town of Greek origins that is home to several very beautiful archaeological sites, including that of Krimisa Promontorium, dating back to the 5th century BC. Before the border with the small part of Basilicata facing the Ionian Sea, the long beach of fine sand that stretches in front of Sibari and northward should not be missed.
Apulia, 800 km of coastline
Perhaps lesser-known Apulia lies around the wide Gulf of Taranto, whose low-lying coastline is characterized by a series of beaches, among the most beautiful being Porto Saturo and Torre Colimena. Further south, as you enter Salento, an Apulian subregion that includes the so-called “heel of Italy,” you encounter the magnificent area of Porto Cesareo, surrounded by a splendid Protected Area full of wild coves and islets, and the cliffs between Santa Maria al Bagno, Santa Caterina and Porto Selvaggio. The historic and ancient town in the surrounding area is the fortified Gallipoli, a village famous for the beauty of its waterfront, along which there are some beautiful beaches, such as Punta della Suina and Baia Verde, but also for the charm of its “isolated” center on the Ionian Sea. In Torre San Giovanni, however, begins the long series of sandy beaches, including the beautiful and immaculate Pescoluse beach.
The Adriatic, on the other hand, begins north of the Cape of Santa Maria di Leuca, the land of two seas that is home to numerous ornate villas and caves on the coast. Among the most fascinating caves then are the Zinzulusa of Castro and the Cave of the Three Doors. Having visited and passed the sensational Otranto, a splendid fortified town of Greek origin with a castle and cathedral dating back to 1080, the shores get wider and wider, from Laghi Alimini to Torre dell’Orso. Not far from Brindisi, on the other hand, here is the Torre Guaceto Nature Reserve, home to a wilderness of dunes and Mediterranean scrub. Everyone is struck by Bari’s old-world charm: the city’s historic center, in which the Basilica of St. Nicholas, the Cathedral of St. Sabinus, and the Norman Castle are located, is famous. Further north we come to the Gulf of Manfredonia where the fantastic Gargano promontory begins. Adorned with a rugged coastline full of caves, inlets and picturesque beaches, the “spur of Italy” is also home to seaside resorts worth visiting on foot, such as Vieste and Pugnochiuso. Its coasts are protected by the National Park of the same name. Finally, the so-called Foresta Umbra is particular: it is the Protected Area that occupies much of the Gargano hinterland and is a dense and wild green area.
A dip in the middle of the Adriatic
The five small and sparsely inhabited islands of San Domino, San Nicola, Capraia, Il Cretaccio and Pianosa along with a few scattered rocks make up the Tremiti archipelago, the only group of landmasses in eastern Italy that is part of the area protected by the Gargano Park and home to a vast Marine Protected Reserve. The main one is San Domino with the beautiful beaches of Cala degli Inglesi, Cala del Pigno, Cala delle Arene and Cala Matano. Narrow, long and made up three-quarters of a rocky plateau overlooking the sea, St. Nicholas is mainly home to the Santa Maria a Mare complex, a fortified building dating back to the year 1000. Completely uninhabited, Capraia is the second largest island in the Tremiti Islands, and there are several fascinating inlets such as Cala dei Turchi.
In Abruzzo we discover the coast but also the mountains. If in Pescara, city of the “vate” D’Annunzio, one discovers the D’Avalos Pinewoods and several Art Nouveau buildings, stealing the show are the Maiella, wild massif of the Apennines, and the Gran Sasso, territory of one of the most beautiful and extensive National Parks in the country. In the Marche region, however, the first jewel is artistic: it is the monumental city of Ascoli Piceno, with Piazza del Popolo and the Cathedral. Recanati, on the other hand, is the birthplace of the great poet Giacomo Leopardi: just beyond it is the Conero promontory, a wild mountain with doc beaches.
THE “LIST” OF MAJOR MARINAS AND EQUIPPED PORTS
Marina of Reggio Calabria
Port of Grace
Marina Bleu Salento Gallipoli
Porto Gaio Gallipoli
Tourist Port of Leuca
Marina of Brindisi
Port of Bari
Marina Sveva Tourist Port
Marina dei Cesari Port of Fano
Marina of Porto San Giorgio
Port of Senigallia