Explore Italian Port Cities with a Mediterranean Cruise Around Italy
Italy cruises are a lovely way to travel around Italy. See all of Italy by sea in one trip. Forget about packing and unpacking and moving from one hotel to another. The cruise ship is your floating hotel. Visiting Italy’s ports will allow you to experience the different Italian regions, explore its famous art cities, and taste the Italian culture region by region.
When you cruise to Italy’s ports you’ll sample the distinct areas so you’ll know where to return for your next trip to Italy.
Below is a map of Italy’s cruise ports of call. The larger ones like Rome, Venice, Naples, Livorno, and Genoa are visited by the large cruises lines. Smaller luxury cruises also visit the smaller Italian ports. Whichever Italy cruise vacation itinerary you choose you will be sure to enjoy the Italian ports on a cruise around Italy.
Agrigento is located on Sicily’s southern coast. It is the site of some of the best preserved and largest ancient Greek Temples. Sicily was the center of the Magna Grecia. At that time Hellenistic culture flourished, which included the worship of many Gods. The various Temples here dedicated to these Gods date back to the 6th century BC. If you are interested in ancient Greek and Ancient Roman history then you’ll certainly enjoy a tour during your Italy cruise tour to Agrigento.
Ancona is located on the Adriatic Seas in the Marche region. Right in Ancona there is evidence of both Roman and Greek settlements, and there is a hilltop cathedral in the city. Ancona is not a very popular tourist destination so you’ll find an authentic Italian experience. It is not a major Italy cruise port but you may contact Italian Tourism travel agents who will find you a cruise from Rome or cruise from Venice that includes Ancona on its itinerary.
Bari is a major city in the southern Italian region of Puglia, the heel of Italy’s boot. Bari and Puglia exhibit the confluence of many cultures that during the centuries have melted into a unique culture. Bari’s centro storico, its old section is nice to wander. And the Bari art museum is full of treasures from ancient Roman, Greek, and Ottoman inhabitants. There are several churches. In one you’ll find the skulls of those massacred by the Ottomans. The castle in Bari dates to the 12th century. There are beautiful beaches in Bari on the Adriatic coast. Bari is a common port of call on Adriatic cruise itineraries.
Located on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia (Sardegna), Cagliari was the capital of the Kingdom of Sardinia from 1324 to 1720. And also from 1798 to 1815. In 1861 Sardinia joined the Kingdom of Italy. Cagliari is an important regional cultural, educational, political and artistic center. It is known for its distinct and diverse Art Nouveau architecture, vibrant nightlife and several monuments. The old part of the city (called Castello, the castle) lies on top of a hill, with a wonderful view of the Gulf of Cagliari (also known as Angels Gulf). You’ll find lots of Western Mediterranean cruises that include Sardinia and Cagliari.
Civitavecchia Rome Cruise
Rome’s cruise port is Civitavecchia located in the Lazio region. It is located 45 minutes outside of Rome’s historic center (centro storico). Cruises from Rome that sail around the Western Mediterranean go to France, Spain, Sicily and Mediterranean islands. Cruises to the Eastern Medterranean sail around Italy to the Greek Isles, Turkey, and Venice. There are plenty of pre cruise and post cruise all inclusive Rome tour options. If your cruise passes through Rome for the day you’ll find affordable Rome shore excursions to the Vatican Museum and other Rome sightseeing highlights.
Crotone is a city in Calabria located on the Ionian Sea. It was founded around 700 BC as the Achaean colony of Croton. During the ancient Greek Magna Grecia Crotone city flourished. The literature from the day describes the character of its inhabitants having formidable physical strength combined with simple sobriety of their lives. When visiting Crotone tour the national archaeological museum. There are also art galleries. For kids and adults the Antiquarium di Torre Nao is a favorite southern Italy destination.
Gaeta is located south of Rome in the region of Lazio, on the Riviera di Ulisse. It is a fishing and oil seaport. It is surrounded by a national park. The Italians have summer homes here along the beach. Tiberius’ Villa at Sperlonga is close to Gaeta. In town the sightseeing highlight is the Aragonese-Angevine Castle. The churches show off southern Italy’s flair for the Gothic and Baroque styles. In the summer evenings Italians enjoy a passeggiata. Enjoy a the local seafood, an espresso, and the local gelato!
Genoa is located in Liguria on the Mediterranean in northern Italy and is one of Italy’s original maritime republics. Genoa’s historic center is beautiful. There is a selection of pretty churches and an art museum. If you are touring Italy with your kids they will love visiting Europe’s largest aquarium in Genoa. Genoa is close to the Italian Riviera destinations like the Cinque Terre, Portofino, and Santa Margherita. Many cruises that include Genoa on the itinerary permit embarkation and disembarkation here. In addition to Genoa shore excursions we have pre cruise and post cruise vacations. Visit the Italian Riviera, Cinque Terre and the Dolomites before your Italy cruise.
Livorno is Tuscany’s cruise port. It is a lovely town. Many cruise travelers pass through on their way to tour Florence, Pisa, and the classic Tuscan hill towns. Lucca, Pietrasanta, San Gimignano, Volterra are all within a day trip of Livorno. The Ligurian Coast vacation destinations Portovenere and Cinque Terre are also closeby. Livorno is known as the Venice of the Mediterranean because of its canals that run through the city.
The Sicilian port of Messina is the busiest of Italian ports. The traffic between Calabria and Messina is the source of most of the passenger traffic. Cruise passengers typically head south on shore excursions to Taormina and Mt. Etna. Messina is famous for its citrus fruits. Zesty lemons, juicy mandarin oranges, tasty olives and rich wines are all grown around Messina. Its art museum includes important paintings by Caravaggio and Antonello da Messina.
Naples cruise port in the region of Campania welcomes visitors to southern Italy. Families, friends, and groups traveling together will love our Naples shore excurison options and low group prices. This city captures everyone’s imagination. It is home of the Pizza Margherita. The Naples Archaeology Museum is best museum of Western Civilization. Drive around the Bay of Naples to Mt Vesuvius. Visit the ancient Roman archaeological sites in Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Stabiae . Enjoy the natural beauty of the Amalfi Coast and Capri. Its rich cultural history makes this city an Italy cruise sightseeing highlight. For more information about the Naples port information click here.
Palermo is one of Sicily’s major cities and its capital. The city was founded by the Phoenicians around 734BC. The mix of cultural influences is evident in Palermo’s unique architecture, music, culinary traditions and other sightseeing highlights. Its Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque churches and its historic sights are well worth visiting. The cathedral in Monreale and Cefalu are also close. The closest Greek Temple is in Segesta.
Just down the coast from Genoa, in the region of Liguria, is the picture perfect postcard town Portofino. Many small and mid size cruise ships include Portofino on their cruise itinerary. If the ship you’re on can’t get into the harbor, you’ll be ferried from the ship to the land. The “fine port” is typically full of yachts hosting the rich and famous so be sure to dress the part. Santa Margherita, located just down the road, is another popular Italian Riviera vacation destination.
Portovenere is the quintessential Italian small port. It is located along Northern Italy’s Ligurian coast,south of the Cinque Terre. Small and mid size ships visit Portovenere. The larger cruise ships that visit this area dock in La Spezia. There is plenty to enjoy around Portovenere. Hike up to the castle. Visit the churches and shop the local stores. A “shore excursion” from Portovenere to Cinque Terre is easily done by taking the water ferry in Portovenere. The ferry will stop in four of the five Cinque Terre hamlets so you may get off and on the boat to visit these seaside hamlets which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site (as is Portovenere).
Ravenna in the Emilia Romagna region is described as the city of mosaics. It was Rome’s Western Capital and the Byzantine Empire’s eastern Capital. The city’s long Roman and Byzantine history contributes to the beautiful artwork you will find here. The city has eight UNESCO World Heritage monuments. This designation is due to the number of buildings and structures with renowned 5th century mosaic work.
Italian cruise port Rimini is located on the Adriatic Sea. It is one of Italy’s most famous seaside resorts. It is located on the Adriatic Riviera south of Venice. It is rich with cultural history. It was inhabited by the Etruscans, Umbrians, Greeks, Gauls and Romans. In modern history Federico Fellini, the great Italian movie director, may be its most famous son. Its beaches are among the finest in Italy.
Located in Sicily Siracusa was once described by Cicero as “the greatest Greek city and the most beautiful of them all.” It was founded by Ancient Greek Corinthians. It later became part of the Roman Republic. Then it joined the Byzantine Empire. This 2,700 year-old city played a key role in ancient times. It was one of the major powers of the Mediterranean. It exerted influence over the entire Magna Grecia area of which it was the most important city. Today it is a lovely city to stroll around. There are archaeological sites with an ancient Greek Theater. Here you’ll breath 3,000 years of Western civilization where it was born.
Savona is an Italian port located 30 miles west of Genoa It is about 100 miles from Nice, on the French Riviera. Between them is the Italian Riviera. Savona was a ship building industrial port. Christopher Columbus farmed land in the area while chronicling his journeys. Today you’ll find many Western Mediterranean cruises that include Savona in its itinerary. Here you can enjoy the Ligurian beaches or do some sightseeing.
Located in northern Italy just north of Tuscany in the region of Liguria. This Italian port allows Italy cruise travelers to visit the popular northern Tuscan towns of Carrara and Pietrasanta. Art lovers always love these two towns. From La Spezia it is a short trip by train to the wildly popular Cinque Terre located along the Ligurian Coast.
Taormina (Giardini Naxos)
Taormina has been a popular tourist destination for thousands of years. It is located in the hills. Below it are the popular Sicilian beaches in Giardini Naxos. From Taormina there is an aerial tramway down to the Ionian sea. These beaches are favorites because of the warm Mediterranean sea water and high salt content. The ancient Greek Theater overlooking Mt Etna is a famous Taormina post card picture. It is still used for concerts, opera, and theater performances. Of course this site’s archaeological merits are without comparison. The theater’s location and its structure are simply harmonic.
Trapani juts out into the Mediterranean sea on Sicily’s northern coast. The Greek Temples in Segesta are a short distance. They are of course a popular Trapani shore excursion destination. After the Greeks Carthage seized control of the city in 260 BC. Then they ceded it to Rome in 241 BC following the Battle of the Aegates in the First Punic War. Various ancient legends tell of mythical origins for the city. In the first legend, Trapani stemmed from the sickle which fell from the hands of the goddess Demeter while she was looking for her daughter Persephone, who had been kidnapped by Hades. The second myth features Saturn, god of the sky, who eviscerated his father Cronus with a sickle which, falling into the sea, created the city. In ancient times Saturn was the god-protector of Trapani. Today Saturn’s statue stands in a piazza in the center of the city.
The northern Italian city Trieste in the Friuli region is a secret gem. It’s on the border of Slovenia. Trieste is charming like all the towns along the Dalmatian Coast and Italy’s Adriatic coast. On town there is the classic castle, square, and cathedral. All are notable while strolling around. illy coffee is located here. Compare the coffee of Trieste to Torino , Rome, and Naples while cruising among Italian ports.
Venice located in the Veneto region is one of Italy’s four original maritime republics. The days of the cruise from Venice are coming to an end. You’ll still cruise from Venice. But the route will not include the main lagoon. Cruising by St Mark’s square will be a thing of the past. Venice cruises typically include ports of call along the Dalmatian Coast. Then the itinerary goes east to Turkey and the Greek Isles. Or the itinerary cruises around Italy to all the great Italian ports on the Amalfi coast like Sorrento where you may visit Pompeii, Capri, and Naples. A Venice cruise to Rome or Barcelona is the classic itinerary.
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