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Photo Essay : Stunning Seaside Towns on Italy’s Mediterranean

When I think of the tiny towns nestled along Italy’s Mediterranean coast, I think of the multi-hued sherbet cubes tucked into cliffsides, varying shades of aquamarine water with colorful boats bobbing up and down, gray pebbly beaches with lounge chairs and colorful umbrellas, steep craggy coastlines that abruptly drop into the forcefully churning surf and ports where fishmongers row in their catch of the day.

And though many of them possess these same characteristics, each one has its own history, charm, vibe and reasons to visit.  Enjoy this photo essay of some of the best seaside towns along the Mediterranean in Italy.

Sanremo

San Remo Italy Mediterranean

Sanremo is one of the westernmost town, so very close to the French border.  It’s home to a casino, palm trees and a luxurious looking Marina!


Genoa

Genoa Italy

Genoa is one of the largest cities on the Northern Italy Coast.  It’s a large industrial port city and actually was Italy’s first.


Lerici

Lerici Italy

Lerici is in the province of Liguria.  It’s considered part of the Italian Riviera. And in case you can’t tell from the photo…it’s a port town.

Manarola

Manarola Italy

Cinque Terre means five towns. It is literally made up of five tiny villages, all connected by ancient paths.  This photo is of Manarola, one of the most recognizable in the Cinque Terre.

Portofino

Portofino Italy

Another hugely popular town on the Italian Riviera is Portofino.  The small fishing village was supposedly discovered by Romans and named for dolphins.  The stunning half-moon shape of the harbor is best viewed from above, as in this photo.

Livorno

Livorno Italy

Livorno is an ancient tangle of canals and walls.  It’s also known as Leghorn, and there is a breed of chicken named after the city.  Rumor has it that it’s how Foghorn Leghorn got his name.

Monterosso al Mare

Monterosso al Mare Italy

Another tiny town included in the Cinque Terre.  I love how the little beach is anchored on either side by the huge rocks.  And check out the walkway just clinging to that cliff face on the right.

Vernazza

Vernazza Italy

This unique town of the Cinque Terre wraps completely around the coast, offering spectacular views. The Doria Castle, which was erected to protect against pirates and the church’s octagonal bell tower are two notable sights.

Camogli

Camogli Italy

Camogli, which means houses close together in Italian, is a tiny fishing village on the coast.  If this picture is any indication, it looks adorable.

Riomaggiore

Riomaggiore Italy

The southernmost town in the Cinque Terre group.  It sits on the Gulf of Genoa and is known for its wine and aquariums.

Portovenere

Portovenere Italy

This tiny fishing village is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Its name is said to come from a temple to the goddess Venus. I know I’d feel like a goddess if I spent any time there.

Piombino

Piombino Italy

Piombino is an ancient Etruscan port.  The area attracts snorkelers and divers from all over the world.  There is also a Marine Biology Center and aquarium.

Nettuno

Nettuno Italy

 

Nettuno, named for the Roman god Neptune, is located in the Lazio region.  It’s a popular spot for sunbathers since it’s a stop on the local train out of Rome.

Gaeta

 

Gaeta Italy

Gaeta has had a turbulent history, but is currently an important seaport for both fishing and oil.  You can also get tiella here, which is a unique combination of a pizza and calzone. I can imagine eating one on that stretch of golden sand.

Sorrento

Sorrento Italy

Sorrento is a tourist destination in the Campania region, which overlooks the beautiful Bay of Naples.  Other than delicious views and luxury resorts, Sorrento is known for its Limoncello.  How ’bout a chilled sip while drooling over this view?

Positano

Positano Italy

Made famous by the scenes shot here in Under the Tuscan Sun, this gem had been frequented by celebs long before that. Located on the Amalfi coast,  Positano was a medieval port and boasts two separate beaches- both equally beautiful.

Atrani

Atrani Italy

Atrani, located a few minutes drive from Amalfi, is one of the most romantic towns of them all.  The location is stunning,even dramatic, and looking at this photo it’s clear why.   Their abundance of fish is evident in the Sagre del Pesce Azzurro, the celebratory fish festival.

Praiano

Praiano Italy

Praiano, located between Positano and Amalfi, is home to the famed Grotto Esmerela, or Green Grotto.  Not quite as talked about as the famous Blue Grotto on Capri, but with views like this, how could it not be beautiful?

Cetara

Cetara Italy

Once used by pirates as a naval base and later destroyed by Turkish pirates in the 16th century, this tiny gem is known for its anchovy and tuna production.  Oh, and it looks dreamy at dusk, wouldn’t you agree?

Tropea

Tropea Italy

Tropea is situated on a reef in the toe of the boot, the Calabria region.  From the photo, we can tell it’s a favorite spot of beach-goers.  The people seem ant-like in relation to the giant sandstone cliffs.

Amalfi

Amalfi Italy

Located at the mouth of a ravine called Monte Cerrato, Amalfi is certainly one of the most well-known towns.  An entire section of Italy’s southern coast is named after it.  Amalfi is home to a Duomo, campanile (bell tower) and hosts an ancient regatta once every four years.

Which stunning locale are you heading to first?  Include any favorites that I missed in the comments.

Note : Though many of these little villages are set in more specific areas of Italy’s coastline, such as the Ligurian and Tyrrhenian Seas, I have grouped these bodies of water all together as part of the larger Mediterranean Sea for the pupose of this piece.

Photo Credits : Mike FlemmingPerrimoon / Alex ScarcellaRob Inh00d / Extravigator / Conormac / LeeMcarthur / Tylerc083 / RoSSella Rebonato / [MP] / Nick’s Pics /  Raffaelesergi1977 / Sunshinecity / Michaelwm25 / S J Pickney / Robin Locker / Allerina & Glen MacLarty / MHJohnston / Ale Bovini / Simo0082 / Paul and Jill

Traveling to Italy?  Click here to find out how I can help plan your trip!

  • User Gravatar
    Lindastamps
    January 21st, 2010

    Just lovely. I’ve wanted to go to Positano since I first saw in the movie “Only You” (an older movie but a goody!)

  • User Gravatar
    anne
    January 22nd, 2010

    How about Alassio http://anne-arnott.blogspot.co.....e-out.html….or SanteMargherita Ligure !

  • User Gravatar
    anne
    January 22nd, 2010

    oooops that link went a bit wrong…!!

    http://anne-arnott.blogspot.co.....e-out.html

    :-)
    .-= anne´s last blog ..Lots to Blog about but………. =-.

  • User Gravatar
    Alison
    January 22nd, 2010

    Hi! I just discovered your beautiful blog! I’m a photographer and writer based in Brussels, Belgium, originally from Canada. I’ve explored quite a bit of France but very little of Italy so far and your blog makes me want to jump on a plane right now :) Look forward to exploring more with you!
    .-= Alison´s last blog ..Before You Buy that New iPod… =-.

  • User Gravatar
    Paula
    January 22nd, 2010

    What amazing photos. I have been lucky enough to visit most of the places shown here. I remember walking across the cliff tops and stopping off at the Cinque Terre villages. Oh to live in Italy!!!!

    Santa Margherita is another lovely town, on the Italian Riveria just before Portofino. Sorry I don’t have any pics.

  • User Gravatar
    Erica
    January 22nd, 2010

    Gorgeous! I want to visit every one of these seaside towns.
    .-= Erica´s last blog ..Free Your Soul =-.

  • User Gravatar
    Robin @ My Melange
    January 22nd, 2010

    @Lindastamps : You’ll get there one day. It’s like a fantastyland.

    @Anne : Thanks for the link! Alassio looks lovely also :)

    @Alison : Hey, so nice to meet you! I look forward to your contributions here…and do get on that place to Italy…now ;)

    @Paula : I have yet to explore the Cinque Terre, but these pictures have made me want to make it my next visit! I’ll check out Santa Marghertia.

    @Erica : Ditto. What’s not to love, right?

  • User Gravatar
    Barbara @ Hole In The Donut Travels
    January 22nd, 2010

    Robin: This is a stunning roundup of the most beautiful Italian towns. Tanks for sharing (my favorite is Venere).
    .-= Barbara @ Hole In The Donut Travels´s last blog ..In an Era of Civil Unrest, Chicago’s Maxwell Street Welcomed Everyone =-.

  • User Gravatar
    erin :: the olive notes
    January 22nd, 2010

    beautiful post!! You even included our (possible / hopeful) new winter home :) seasonal living may start this year!
    .-= erin :: the olive notes´s last blog ..last week :: florida. films. friends. =-.

  • User Gravatar
    Jennifer @ Approach Guides
    January 22nd, 2010

    What a great photo essay – it will help me make it through this NYC winter! Italy has so many great coastal towns, it is difficult to pick a favorite. Have you also been to the Sicilian islands? Salina, Pantelleria and Lampedusa are incredible.
    .-= Jennifer @ Approach Guides´s last blog ..Beijing: Stepping Back in Time =-.

  • User Gravatar
    Robin @ My Melange
    January 22nd, 2010

    @Barbara : Thanks. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but so glad you were able to share yours :)

    @Erin : Wow! How exciting. You’ll have to keep me updated on that new adventure!

    @ Jennifer : Glad I could help. I have not yet been to the Sicilian Islands. Hard to believe they aren’t even more beautiful than those I have listed :)

  • User Gravatar
    waitinginthedark
    January 24th, 2010

    What a fantastic photo essay, Robin! You pointed out at some of the most awesome villages along Tyrrenhian seashore. I am particularly in love with Camogli, where I enjoy the wonderful town and the awesome hikes at Portofino headland.
    Let me know when you’ll next come to Italy!
    Ciao!
    .-= waitinginthedark´s last blog ..Scuba TV =-.

  • User Gravatar
    Aaron | HappytimeBlog
    May 9th, 2010

    Wow, yet another set of stunning pictures, Tropea looks amazing and to be honest just looking through your photo essay’s is making me want to draw a line through them all on a map and buy some tickets!

    Thanks Aaron! I think that’s a great idea…better get crackin’

    .-= Aaron | HappytimeBlog´s last blog ..Zurich Pictorial: Sechseläuten festival =-.

  • User Gravatar
    Jessica
    October 24th, 2010

    These photos are fantastic! Simply beautiful. Very evocative of the region. Thanks for sharing.

  • User Gravatar
    Ingrid
    February 10th, 2011

    where did you get ur background? its so beautiful!! i need to print out a pic so i can use it as a nursery wallpaper :)

  • User Gravatar
    Darius
    October 7th, 2011

    Thanks for this blog. I actually want to got to most of those towns, do a reconnaissance, and choose one place to live. Any recommendations? How much is rent there for a house or villa, living costs, etc.? Thanks for your help in advance.

    Dairus, I specialize in Italy travel, not really living and moving. The Expats in Italy site may have more of the information you’re looking for. Good luck!

  • User Gravatar
    Siddharth
    January 14th, 2013

    Such an amazing Photo Essay of coastal towns of Italy.
    If i just had to pick one place out of all these …. which would it be??? Any suggestions??

    Thank you! Gosh, I couldn’t pick just one, but I do love Positano.

  • User Gravatar
    Cindy
    January 26th, 2013

    Thank you for posting these beautiful photos! My first trip to Europe this spring will be to Italy’s coastline, now I am even more excited! How did you get around? Did you drive or use public transportation. This is my biggest concern.

    You’re welcome Cindy. Hope you have a great first trip! I’m a big fan of Italy’s trains – they are fast, convenient and can get you almost anywhere with ease.

  • User Gravatar
    Siddharth
    January 28th, 2013

    Something more up north?… Closer to Bologna ? Dates of travel are around 1st week of March!

  • User Gravatar
    Wilhelmina
    February 23rd, 2014

    Hello,

    Thank you for share this beautiful foto’s.
    My youngest son and I gonna visit in September this year Italy.
    Its a birthday gift from my son to me =D
    We gonna vist Toscane, Lucca, Sienna, Pisa, Livorno, Mondena/ Ferarri Museum, on the end, we gonna relaxt on a coast near Piobino and enjoy from Baratti. We gonna all places visit with the train, taking a real vacation.

    That’s so sweet of him. I hope you have a great trip!

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