Along with the mainland of Italy its islands also present major tourist attractions. Italy is surrounded by many major as well as minor islands. The islands of Italy have contributed both geologically as well as culturally towards the development of the country.
The islands of Italy have also served as the cradle for development of human civilization and hence many archaeological remains still can be found in many of these islands. UNESCO has listed 44 world heritage sites in its list and six of the sites are situated in the islands of Sicily and Sardinia.
The major islands that surround the mainland of Italy are- Sicily, Sardinia, Capri, Ischia and Elba. This write-up has discussed about the islands of Italy in detail to help you plan your Italian vacation better.
The many rivers, lakes and proximity of the sea have helped together in creating the many islands that surround the Italian mainland. All the Mediterranean islands are part of Italy. Additionally there are lake islands and river islands as well.
Capri is one of the many fascinating islands of Itay, situated 5km from the edge of Sorrentine peninsula at the Gulf of Naples. The topography of Capri is full of hills and mountains. It is a lovely resort island with many hotels, inns and cafes build for the tourists. The island teem with tourists during the summer and spring seasons when international as well as local tourists, drawn by its blue sea, pristine beaches and dazzling sun disembark at Capri for fun filled holidays. Capri is also a great romantic place and many couples escape to Capri for a quite romantic vacation. Capri attracts many honeymooners as well.
Capri is well connected with the mainland and there are regular ferries available which will take you to the harbor of Marina Grande. In Capri you can visit Marina Piccol, which is a famous beach. You can also take a bus from Capri to Anacapri.
While in Capri you mustnít miss it nightlife as well. Capri has quite few clubs and pubs where one can spend a great evening. The most famous club in Capri is Number Two on Via Camerelle. Apart from the clubs, Capri also has numerous options with bars, pubs, cafes and such.
Elba is a part of the Tuscan Archipelago. It is situated12km off the coast of Piombino and is the third large Island of Italy. It is much smaller in size than Sicily and Sardinia and hence, even the most interior part of the Island isnít too far from the sea. However, it also happens to be the largest island of the Tuscany Archipelagoes.
The landscape of Elba is speckled with mountains where you can still find relics of ancient mining villages. In terms of historical significance, Elba has a long history of human inhabitation. The mountains of Elba were great sources of iron and from ancient time many mining villages were set up in the island. Later, it is where the French Emperor, Napoleon I, was exiled.
Today Elba is a great tourist spot. It serves as the main tourist destination for middle-class Italians and Germans. They constitute the major part of the tourist population of Elba. It also serves as a great camping site and during the summer almost all the camping sites of Elba get booked.
Elba can be easily accessed by water routes. The major port of the island is Portoferraio. There are public transports available from the port to the inner part of the island. One can also tour the island on car and two-wheelers.
Elba has many tourist attractions. Each year a historic rally of classic cars is held here. Also, during the months of July and August, the popular wine festival takes place in Elba.
This island is another popular island of Italy. With its many beaches and mountains along with its archeological sites Sardinia is a popular tourist destination.
Sardinia is the second largest island after Sicily. Sardinia is also closer to Africa and hence, the influence can easily be seen. The middle of the island bears close resemblance to the great grass land of savanna.
Although it is a large Mediterranean island, it also happens to be the fourth least populated region of Italy. Hence, many of the places retain their virgin scenery. Sardinia also presents many archeological sites of importance. Shepherds raise sheep in the pastures of Sardinia. The milk is then used in producing Pecorino Sardo, a highly sought after cheese for cooking and eating.
Amongst the Mediterranean islands, Sicily is the largest. It and the minor islands of Aegadian Islands, Aeolian Islands, Pantelleria and Lampedusa form an autonomous part of Italy. This region is officially known as Regione Autonoma Siciliana. With volcanoes, beaches, and mountains Sicily is a popular tourist destination. The largest active volcano of the European continent, Mt. Etna, is situated in this island.
Sicily is also rich in arts, music, literature, cuisine, architecture as well as language. The climate of Sicily is typical Mediterranean, i.e. dry and sunny. The Mediterranean climate along with the magnificent beach has made Sicily a favorite tourist destination. Sicily attracts thousands of local as well as international tourists every year.
Its long history and rich culture also remain an attraction for the tourists. Remains of the Greek era can still be seen in the city of Agrigento.
Importance of Sicily has also grown in the map of cruise tourism. Most of the international cruise lines now have Sicily in their list of itineraries.
Another popular island of Italy is Ischia. It is popularly known as Emerald Island because of the thick pine woods that cover the entire area. Ischia speaks of serenity as the pine groves genty descend into the sparkling sea.
The most famous landmark of Ischia is Monte Epomeo, a volcano that sits exactly at the centre of this 47 km long island. Although the peak of Monte Epomeo is dead now it is the secret source of energy for the many thermal springs of Ischia. The island itself was formed during a volcanic explosion and is situated at the Gulf of Gaeta.
Tourists stayed off the island for a long time because of the volcano. But Ischia rose to popularity during 1950s when many wealthy Italians build holiday homes and resorts in this island. Since then Ischia receives hundreds of tourists year round. Ischia is popular of its many beaches, health spas and scenic beauty. The thermal spas of Ischia promise to cure all your ailments. Ischia is also a popular wine producing territory and produces an excellent range of red and white wines.
There are regular ferries and hydrofoils ply between Ischia and Naples. You can disembark at the port of Ischia Porto. Ischia Porto also happens to be the largest city of the island. On the western coast Forio is said to be the liveliest city with many bars and pubs lining its streets.
Ischia is also a popular destination for the spa enthusiasts. Some of the spas of Ischia happen to be the best in the world and attract tourists from every corner of the world. Some of the tourist attractions of Ischia are- Ischia Porto, Lacco Ameno, Forio, and Sant'Angelo.
Some of the other popular Italian islands are,
According to the Roman mythology, Vulcano Island is the abode of Vulcan, the Roman God of Fire.
There is only 15 year round residents live in the island. An active volcano is situated at the middle of Stromboli.
Situated in the middle of Tyrrhenian Sea, Ustica is a turtle shaped island. Ustica Island is also called the black pearl of Mediterranean because it is made of dark, solidified lava.
It is one of the seven islands that are inhabited amongst seventeen of Aeolian Islands.
Apart from Sea Islands, Italy also has lake and river islands. Some of the lake islands- are Lago Maggiore, Lago di Como, Lago d'Orta, Lago di Garda when Isola Tierina is an island on Tiber River.
More on Italy