The 10 Best Beach Holidays in Italy for 2017
Some of the best beaches in mainland Italy are in Puglia – particularly in a string of pristine sandy strands south of the historic towns of Avetrana and Manduria, the latter famous for its Primitivo wine. For white sand, translucent water and informal beach-shack lunches, head for the seaside villages of Punta Prosciutto (“Ham Point”) or Torre Colimena. The scene is molto informale, with families from Lecce, Taranto or Bari coming down for the day and either draping their beach mats on the sand or renting a sunlounger under an ombrellone, for example at laid-back Lido degli Angeli (lidodegliangeli.it). The nearby town of Porto Cesareo has the best selection of hotels, but it’s also worth looking at agriturismi or country hotels just inland – like the very chic Masseria Potenti (00 39 099 973 5408; masseriapotenti.it). (Lee Marshall)
2. San Fruttuoso, Liguria
If you’ve seen the Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon divertissement The Trip to Italy, you may remember that one of their competitive Michael Caine-impression sessions was set on the terrace of a restaurant-pensione overlooking an idyllic cove, with a beachside medieval abbey as a backdrop. This magical place is called San Fruttuoso, and it’s in Liguria, around halfway by boat between chi-chi Portofino and the family resort of Camogli. To get there, you either trek across the Portofino promontory, or get a ferry (timetables at golfoparadiso.it). As for Da Giovanni (00 39 0185 770 047; dagiovanniristorante.com) – the only place to eat or stay in the cove – don’t expect luxury. The food is good, unrefined trattoria fare – with an obvious seafood slant – and the seven bedrooms are on the spartan side. But with that view from the window, who needs fancy décor? (Lee Marshall)
3. Tropea, Calabria
Calabria doesn’t feature anywhere like as prominently as Sicily or Puglia in Italian summer-sun brochures. The barely regulated sprawl that clutters up much of the coast is one reason. But there are honourable exceptions – like Tropea, a classy enclave that is the region’s answer to Positano or Taormina. The old town, full of good trattorias and shops, garlands a rocky outcrop above a gently shelving sandy beach, which is popular with families. Tropea’s evening passeggiata is one of Italy’s busiest and most snail-paced – perhaps because of the sweet distraction of the historic ice-cream emporium Gelati Tonino (Corso Vittorio Emanuele 52) halfway along. The crazier flavours here include onion and cuttlefish; we recommend the lemon granita.
From £470 to £1,330 for a week for a two-bedroom self-catering apartment in La Conchiglia, a few miles down the coast, through Real Holidays (020 7359 3938; realholidays.co.uk). (Lee Marshall)
Photo by FabioC.