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A Yacht Charter Vacation at The Amalfi Coast & Sicily

Replete with history, the land that gracefully extends along the warm waters of the Amalfi Coast

Replete with history, the land that gracefully extends along the warm waters of the Amalfi Coast has seen the birth of empires and cradled the growth of civilisations. Arguably the best way to explore the west coast of Italy is by boat, providing easy access to quiet backwaters and anchorages far from the madding crowds of landlubbers.

The beauty and tranquillity of the Amalfi coastline stems from a combination of old-world charm and Italy’s appreciation of the finer things in life, making it a wonderful place for an intriguing yet relaxing holiday. Follow in the footsteps of countless writers and composers and allow yourself to succumb to the allure of the Amalfi Coast with a charter aboard Parsifal III, followed by a few days residing ashore to explore the historic island of Sicily.

Coloured by a long history of splendour and suffering, the Amalfi Coast has barely changed since the Roman emperors made it their headquarters in the first century AD. A place where lemon terraces are chiselled into mountainsides, it is too steep to support much in the way of modern development, meaning this stretch of landscape largely remains idyllically untouched.

Unsurprisingly, the Amalfi Coast has long been a magnet for travellers attracted to its glorious cultural and artistic heritage, beautiful countryside and wonderful food. Hotels and restaurants can be found in splendid villas and medieval convents, some of which welcomed the first Grand Tourists almost two centuries ago. From cities boasting innumerable treasures of Renaissance palaces, baroque masterpieces and Roman remains, to sun-drenched coves hugging the emerald sea, the warmth and personality of Italy shines through. The islands speckled along the Amalfi coastline have the same irresistible appeal. From the sophisticated islands of Capri and Ischia to the dramatically positioned towns that dot the mainland, your charter will take you on a stimulating journey of old-world charm and five-star luxury.

You will step aboard your private yacht in the bustling Bay of Naples. Your home for the next eight days, the 54m Parsifal III is hailed to be the fastest Perini Navi yet built. As you sail across the bay to the volcanic island of Ischia with a Campari and soda to hand, watch the beguiling landscape scattered with relics of bygone empires fade in the distance before you turn your attention to fresh wonders.

Known as ‘the island of well being’, Ischia is famous for its thermal springs and therapeutic spas, and has long been a source of inspiration for artists, musicians and writers. Here you can step ashore and browse the boutiques of San’t Angelo, or anchor off San Montano Bay and take the tender to the Mezzatorre Resort & Spa for a thermal treatment in the resort’s old tower. Dating back to the 16th century, the tower was used by local natives to defend themselves against the Saracens and it affords wonderful views over Mount Epomeo, the Gulf of Naples and Vesuvius. Following an afternoon of watersports in the sun-drenched bay of Punta Molino, dine on the perfectly situated terrace of the Grand Hotel Punta Molino, which promises panoramic views over the imposing castle that was once the summer residence of the kings of Aragon.

After a relaxing night aboard Parsifal III it is time to sail back across the bay to the mainland. Balanced like a ship’s prow high above the sea, Ravello has no beach but makes up for it with gardens and views that have inspired more than their share of masterpieces, most famously D. H. Lawrence’s book Lady Chatterley’s Lover. One of the many gardens in Ravello, that belonging to Villa Cimbrone, is generally acknowledged to be Italy’s most romantic, with its well-named Terrace Of Infinity. Roman aristocrats took refuge here from the barbarians in the 5th century AD, and at the beginning of the 20th century the medieval villa and its gardens were made into the stunning setting that they are today. Stroll down the wisteria-draped Avenue Of The Immensity until you reach the Belvedere Of Infinity, a sheer 4,000m drop with busts of emperors and the thinnest railings between you and the dramatic drop. The 13th century Villa Rufolo, with its Moorish cloister, is more famous for virtuosos than views. Wagner was so smitten by the gardens here that he re-created its grounds as Klingsor’s magic gardens of seduction in his opera Parsifal. Every summer, the gardens are the stage for a festival in honour of Wagner, and your charter broker will be happy to secure tickets for you prior to your charter. Italians know how to extract maximum pleasure and beauty from everyday things and it is worth extending your stay in Ravello to sip a little prosecco wine as you enjoy the tranquillity of an evening on the square.

Pompeii is close by and the following day your crew will accompany you with refreshments as you wander around the ruins. A ghost town since AD79, Pompeii was buried under tiny stones and ash from Vesuvius until 1763 when excavation of the city began. Much of our knowledge of the Romans and their way of life has come from Pompeii, whose state of preservation is astonishing. As you wander in and out of people’s houses and sit on their seats in the amphitheatre you will be transported back to a remarkable civilisation founded on slavery.

Fortunately the town of Sorrento, perched on the cliffs, was far enough from Vesuvius to survive the blast that buried Pompeii. In the early 19th century, Grand Tourists fled the hustle and bustle of Naples for Sorrento and its calm and comfortable atmosphere, which still remains today. Before joining the ‘It’ crowd in Capri, step ashore and embrace the wraparound views of the Bay of Naples from the cliff-top terraced walkways of the Museo Correale di Terranova, followed by a refreshing ice cream from a gelateria. For those who have worked up more of an appetite, reservations can be made at the Excelsior Vittoria’s ‘Bosuet’ terrace and bar, whose guestbook boasts many famous names including Richard Strauss, The Prince of Wales who also returned Edward VII, and more recently Sophia Lauren and Luciano Pavarotti.

Originally part of the Sorrentine peninsula, the island of Capri has been through many personality changes over the centuries. The dazzling island was the playground of Augustus and his son Tiberius and, as one of the world’s first tourist destinations, Capri’s fate was sealed in 1826 with the discovery of the iridescent Blue Grotto, a spectacular cave which is illuminated a cobalt blue certain times of the day when the sunlight passes through an underwater cavity and shines through the water creating a blue reflection that illuminates the cavern. During the summer the island is a victim of its own charms as visitors arrive in flocks. Thankfully, aboard Parsifal III you can enjoy a vast array of watersports around the more secluded anchorages to the west of the island. As the crowds depart late in the afternoon, the discreet glamour of Capri emerges. Take a hair-raising ride up to Anacapri to visit the paradisiacal gardens of Villa San Michele before an aperitif on the Piazzetta and dinner at the Quisisana – an A-list favourite since the 1930s. The next morning, wake to a beautiful sunrise over the Faraglioni rocks or, if you’re early enough, take the chairlift and soar above a profusion of flowers to the top of Monte Solaro to experience a staggering sunrise illuminating views of Capri and the Bay of Naples.

More Stories By Miriam Cain

Miriam Cain is the communications and publications manager for Camper & Nicholsons International. She is also the managing editor for the the luxury travel magazine Sea & I.

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