The Most Beautiful Islands of Italy

Published in the Arizona Republic News. Written by Alisa Marie Coccari.

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, than pinpointing Italy’s “most beautiful” islands is a near impossible feat — as they are all postcard-gorgeous visions. However, here are a few of Italy’s most beautiful islands to pin onto your carefully crafted travel bucket list.


Located in the Bay of Naples, just a hop-skip off the Amalfi Coast, lies the island of Capri. Despite its poster-perfect image as a playground for the rich, famous and beautiful — Capri is a captivating island full of natural beauty teeming with sea caves, beaches and Italian culture. Take a ferry boat or hydrofoil over from Naples or Sorrento, and indulge in its pristine azure blue waters and rocky beaches. One of the world’s most renown sea caves, the Blue Grotto (Grotto Azzurra), welcomes visitors from all over the globe as a top island attraction. Sea conditions permitting, little wooden row boats with tour guides will take you into this magical grotto where the water glows electric blue. The best time to view this mysterious phenomenon is between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. Make certain to taste the renown local limoncello.


This volcanic island, hailed for its restorative thermal hot springs and healing spas sits within the Gulf of Naples in the cerulean blue water of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Easily accessible by ferry boat or hydrofoil from Naples or Capri, Ischia is a perfect day-trip for relaxation and serenity. Natural thermal baths and resorts dot the island, surrounded by lush tropical gardens. This is also a wonderful stop for an overnight trip to benefit from Ischia’s long revered natural healing properties. The rich clay soil favors the agriculture of olives, lemons and wine production — and gardens and fruit are plentiful.


Elba is the largest of the islands in the Tuscan Archipelago (the third largest of the Italian islands) and only a short ferry ride from Piombino. It is easily accessible year-round by boat or air. Legend has it that Venus, the Goddess of Love, protected the star-crossed lovers, Princess Alba and Knight Sabinus, here and that their cries of lost love can still be heard among the ruins at the caves of Portoferraio. This island, steeped in rich legend, myths, pirates and gods, beckons tourists worldwide for its natural riches: diving, snorkeling, sea kayaking, mountain biking, windsurfing and mystifying archaeological walks.


The idyllic backdrop setting for films such as “Il Postino,” “The Talented Mr. Ripley” and Elizabeth Taylor’s “Cleopatra,” Procida has long been admired for its quaint harbors, pristine beaches and stacked candy-colored homes that climb the rocky hillsides. Less frequented by tourists than its larger sister islands, Capri and Ischia, Procida lures travelers to its quieter personality and charms. The beaches are pristine and rarely overcrowded. Visit the Marina di Corricella, a sparkling harbor filled with vibrant cafes and restaurants that serve delicious fare. Medieval history awaits wandering tourists in town of Terra Murata. The island is easily accessible by ferry boat from both Naples and Ischia year-round.


The largest Italian island, Sicily, is suspended between the Ionian, Tyrrhenian and the Mediterranean Seas. A diversely exquisite landscape from mountains to ancient villages to beaches and crystal clear waters — Sicily charms all to her shores. Etna, the highest and most active volcano in Europe, has created fascinating landscapes over the course of the ages. French writer, Guy de Maupassant wrote, “If someone should spend just one day in Sicily and ask: What should I visit? I would answer without hesitating…Taormina…a landscape where you can find everything to seduce your eyes, your spirit, your imagination.”

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  • © 2012-2020 Alisa Marie Coccari All Rights Reserved

    All writing is copyright of Permission to use any such content will be both requested/granted in writing. Photography will only be used with written permission from the photographer and/or source. Alisa Marie Coccari has also been published under the nom de plume, Alisa Bowen.
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