Being a peninsula and rich in rivers and lakes, a great way to discover Italy is from the water.

There are many cruises in the Mediterranean that stop in Italian harbors: La Spezia, Genova (with amazing views of the Cinque Terre), Livorno, Civitavecchia (near Rome), Naples, Messina and Trapani in Sicily, Bari and Ancona on the Adriatic.

Italy viewed from the sea: the Amalfi Coast, view of the bridge in Amalfi, and the town facing the sea and going up the mountain
Italy viewed from the sea: the Amalfi Coast Ph. depositphoto/vale_t

If you don’t like to spend days on a cruise ship, there are many ways you can see Italy from the water on a one day tour that are also served as public service, so they are not expensive at all. 

Ferries connect various villages of the coast in LiguriaPortofino, Rapallo, Sestri Levante, Porto Venere and Cinque Terre.

Italy viewed from the sea: Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre
Italy viewed from the sea: Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre. Ph. depositphoto/santirf

You could for example board one of the boats that connect Naples and Salerno to the villages of the Amalfi Coast (Positano, Amalfi, Sorrento) with Metrò del Mare or Traghetti Lines. Or you could get onto one of the many boats that connect the mainland to the islands of the area (CapriProcidaIschia).

Italy viewed from the sea: arrival in Procida on a ferry
Italy viewed from the sea: arrival in Procida on a ferry

Boats connect different towns in Sicily and Sicily to smaller Islands of the region (Eolie, Egadi, Pelagie). 

Italy viewed from the sea: Cefalù in Palermo, Sicily
Italy viewed from the sea: Cefalù in Palermo, Sicily. Ph. depositphoto/raferto

A different but equally beautiful experience is to get on a boat on the Brenta river. You can slowly float from Padova to Venice (or the other way round) while watching some beautiful Venetian Villas.

Italy viewed from the water: Villa Giovanelli, a beautiful villa by River Brenta in Noventa Padovana
Italy viewed from the water: Villa Giovanelli, a beautiful villa by River Brenta in Noventa Padovana. Ph. wikimedia/Milazzi

You can also navigate on Italian lakes: GardaMaggioreComoBolsena and Trasimeno are all lakes that offer a ferry service.

Italy viewed from the water: a village by Lake Como
Italy viewed from the water: a village by Lake Como. Ph. depositphoto/swisshippo

Italy viewed from the water: Fishermen Island on Lake Maggiore
Italy viewed from the water: Fishermen Island on Lake Maggiore. Ph. depositphoto/mattnet85

Italy viewed from the water: Castle in Sirmione by Lake Garda
Italy viewed from the water: Castle in Sirmione by Lake Garda. Ph. depositphoto/maigi.com

If you are in Venice and don’t feel like paying 60 to 100 euro for a 30 minutes ride on a gondola, you can take one of the public vaporetti that go almost anywhere in the Laguna (as of 2019 a 75 minutes ticket costs 7.50 euro, 20 euro for a one day ticket; check the actv website for updated prices). 

Italy viewed from the sea: Piazza San Marco in Venice
Italy viewed from the sea: Piazza San Marco in Venice. Ph. depositphoto/mountainpix

To end with, one of the most romantic experiences you can have in Italy: a mini cruise on the Tiber river in Rome. With dinner, if you want to exagerate.

Italy viewed from a river: the Tiber and Rome in the evening
Italy viewed from a river: the Tiber and Rome in the evening. Ph. depositphoto/feferoni

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