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5 places to visit in Italy for summer 2020

Ponza, Favignana, Polignano a Mare, Procida e Maratea

5 places to visit in Italy for summer 2020 Ponza, Favignana, Polignano a Mare, Procida e Maratea

This summer promises to be quite unusual, made of social distancing, masks, new rules and many doubts, but after months of lockdown, everyone wants to escape and relax surrounded by nature. So, if taking the plane and traveling to distant lands seems too complicated or even impossible, why not opt for the Italian coast? According to the latest data and the magazine of the Italian Touring Club, 2020 tourism will have an amarcord mood as in post-war Italy: short trips around the Bel Paese, maybe to small villages and towns, but slow, low coast, sustainable and outdoor. 

Like the world of fashion, Italians rediscover the Mediterranean aesthetic, a romantic and enjoyable postcard combining laid tables, good food, blue sea, umbrellas and towels, green fields, friends and happy families enjoying the sun and the beauty of simple things.

If you are looking for your own little piece of heaven, the scent of flowers and lemons, feet sinking into the sand, turquoise waters, we suggest 5 destinations in Italy for summer 2020: PonzaFavignanaPolignano a MareProcida, Maratea.

 

Ponza

It is located in the Gulf of Gaeta, in the province of Latina, and can be reached all year round by hydrofoil and ferry from Formia, Anzio and Terracina. Ponza has not registered any cases of Covid-19 and, in order to protect the island also during Phase 2, the municipality is thinking about blocking daily visits. If this will be officially confirmed, it means that only those who have booked at least one night will be able to land here, once the fever has been checked at boarding.

What to do.

The transparent, fish-rich underwater world attracts thousands of diving and snorkeling enthusiasts every year, but Ponza has more than just the sea. The island is rich in historical and naturalistic heritage all to be discovered. The mountainous inland is crossed by mulattiere that lead to the volcanic area and are perfect for walking or cycling. The lovers of ancient history, instead, can follow the traces of Greeks and Romans, who once lived in Ponza: the remains of two sumptuous imperial villas, two Roman necropolis, the aqueduct, cisterns and artificial caves.

The beaches.

Most of Ponza's beaches can only be reached by boat or taxi boat. Among these, the most famous is Chiaia di Luna, whose shape looks like a crescent moon. Until recently you could get there by following a 170-meter-long Roman tunnel, which is now closed due to the fall of the cliff overlooking the sandy shore. The most romantic beach, instead, is definitely Cala Del Core, a place featuring white stones and blue water that takes its name from a heart-shaped magmatic spot on the rock. The legend says that the heart is the one of the Giants' queen who lived on the island. When the king realized that the beautiful queen had fallen in love with Neptune, he killed her and hung her heart on the rock.

Food.

Ponza is the ideal place for a seafood meal: spaghetti with crab, linguine with lobster, shellfish and seafood, oysters, tuna, snapper, swordfish.. One of the typical dishes to taste is tiella, a puff pastry pizza filled with octopus and potatoes or anchovies, escarole and onions. If, on the other hand, you prefer meat, you can opt for coniglio alla ponzese.

Fun fact.

Some people think that Ponza is Eea, the island where, according to Homer's Odyssey, the witch Circe lived. Another fun fact? Here was shot The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou by Wes Anderson.

 

Favignana

Favignana is the major island of the Egadi archipelago and is located about 30 minutes from Trapani. From here you can easily reach the island by ferry and water taxi.

What to do.

The island is a true paradise of wild nature and turquoise waters. The best thing to do as soon as you land is to get lost in the beauty of the place, watching the beautiful sunsets over the sea, walking in the Giardini Ipogei, exploring one of its 400 caves such as Grotta del Cammello, Grotta del Tuono or Grotta del Presepe, where stalactites and stalagmites look like they form a nativity scene. The waters full of fishes are perfect for diving and snorkeling activities; while those who want to discover the history of Favignana can visit the archaeological area of San Nicola and the museum/tonnara of the former Florio factory, where equipment, boats and anchors from different historical periods are on display.

Beaches.

Its geomorphological shape means that Favignana alternates between beaches with fine sand or pebbles, rocky areas, bays, and caves. Cala Rossa is the most popular beach for its unique natural location nestled between the rock caves and the blue sea, but even Cala Azzurra, Calamoni and Punta Lunga deserve a few hours of sunbathing. For diving, instead, we recommend Punta Fanfalo and Grotta Perciata.

Food.

Imagine the best fish combined with the tastiest Sicilian gastronomic tradition. It is hard to choose the most delicious dish, we suggest three typical ones: pasta cull'agghia, a sauce prepared with pesto; pane cunzatu, hard wheat bread seasoned with extra virgin olive oil, cherry tomatoes, salted sardines, local cheese and garlic; cassateddre, fried shortcrust pastry ravioli stuffed with sweetened sheep ricotta cheese.

Fun fact.

Favignana is nicknamed "Butterfly on the sea" because of its shape which looks like wings stretched out over the Mediterranean.

 

Polignano a Mare

Polignano a Mare, one of the most popular touristic spots in Puglia, stands on a rocky promontory overlooking the sea, about 30 kilometers by car from Bari.

What to do.

The best thing to do is to enjoy the beauty of the city: the tangle of narrow streets full of white houses with flowered balconies, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II with the Palazzo dell'Orologio, the Abbey of San Vito, the statue dedicated to Domenico Modugno or, simply, the breathtaking views offered by the terraces and rocks overlooking the sea. One of the most suggestive scenery is visible from Ponte Lama Monachile, which is the ancient Via Traiana.

The beachies.

The most well-known picture of Polignano a Mare shows Lama Monachile: two rocky walls falling overhanging the sea and embracing a cove of sand and water, overlooked by the homonymous bridge which, 15 meters high, is a natural platform perfect for diving. The town, often awarded the Blue Flag for its crystal clear waters, offers several spots where you can enjoy the wild nature such as Cala Incina, Cala Grottone, Cala Fetente or the beach of San Vito

Food.

Besides fish, cooked in every way, and carrots, used in almost all recipes, the real typical dish is tiella of rice, potatoes and mussels, served at the end of the dinner with caffè speciale, made with sugar, lemon peel, cream and amaretto. The perfect snack? Frisa with cherry tomatoes is a must. 

Fun fact.

The walls of the old town are decorated with poems painted by Guido, the Flaneur, a man from Bari who lives in Polignano since 1984 and decided to celebrate the beauty of the city with his own verses and those of great poets and writers.

 

Procida

The island, with its perimeter of only 16 kilometres, is the smallest and perhaps less popular in the Gulf of Naples. It can be reached by sea with ferries and water taxi service from Ischia, Naples or Pozzuoli.

What to do.

The best way to enter the island's mood is to take a walk discovering its rainbow colors: the houses, the fishermen's boats, the shops and artisans' boutiques, the blue sea, the green hills, but also historical buildings such as the Church of the Pietà and the Abbey of San Michele Arcangelo. You should also visit Marina Corricella, the oldest fishing village in Procida, known as the location of the movie set of the film Il Postino starring Massimo Troisi and Maria Grazia Cucinotta.

The beaches.

Procida is full of small beaches, bays and coves. The most beautiful spots are the Chiaia beach, which can be reached only by walking down a long staircase with 182 steps; the strip of dark sand including the beaches of Ciraccio and Chiaiolella, bays sheltered by the crystal blue underwater; the Pozzo Vecchio beach with its peculiar horseshoe shape. 

Food.

Food is definitely one of the other reasons to visit Procida. Get ready to make a fish meal; fried fish; fried paranza, spaghetti with sea urchins, pasta with totanielli or pasta alla pescatora, with fresh anchovies and fried green peppers, lobster linguine, Luveri with salt, Lingue di Suocera, layers of puff pastry stuffed with lemon cream from Procida.. the list is almost endless!

Fun fact.

Several cinematic masterpieces have chosen the island as their location. The most famous movies are Il Postino starring Massimo Troisi and The Talented Mr. Ripley starring Matt Damon.

 

Maratea

Perched on Mount San Biagio, Maratea, with its 30 km coastline of beaches, coves, cliffs overlooking the sea and caves, is the only city in Basilicata overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. The nearest airport is Lamezia Terme, but you can reach it by train or by taking the A3 Salerno-Reggio Calabria motorway. 

What to do.

Due to the morphology of the city, with its medieval layout of narrow streets perched on steep hills, Maratea is perfect for trekking. Walking along the rocky paths you can admire some of the most beautiful views of the Gulf of Policastro, but also stop to visit the Basilica of San Biagio, the church of the Immacolata, the ancient church of San Vito or one of the other 44 religious buildings scattered throughout the territory. Nature lovers can organize excursions to the parks surrounding the city such as the Pollino National Park.

The beaches.

Beaches, caves, rocky cliffs overhanging the sea and deep seabed are perfect for those who love water sports, but also for those who just want to bask in the sun or take a swim. Cala Jannita and the beach of Policoro are some of the most beautiful views. The first is immersed in an extensive forest, while the second is famous for its dark sand, almost black due to its volcanic origin. Do not miss the D'I Vranne beach, a strip of sand surrounded by a steep cliff that can only be reached by sea. Nearby is the beautiful cave of San Giorgio.

Food.

The typical dishes to taste are those of the Mediterranean bush and combine products from the sea and land: strawberries, apricots, olives, aubergines, borlotti beans, fish. The menu of Maratea includes bran peppers (i.e. crunchy), luganeda, caciocavallo, spaghetti alla scapece, Mostaccioli and Zeppole.

Fun fact.

Maratea is also known for the Cristo Redentore, a statue more than 22 meters high located on the top of Mount San Biagio which dominates the city and ranks second in size only to the Christ of Rio de Janeiro.