Italian Mean Of transport – Cruise Ships
After Airports and Trains our Italian Mean of transport series will carry on with Cruises. Cruise ships is not what a usual mean of transport is however for many it represents the only possible way. A friend of mine cannot fly therefore is either taking the train or a Cruise. In a world where speed represent always the main factor cruise might be considered unconventional however there are a lot of advantage in taking a cruise. We can understand the argument when you must go to a country that has limited coastline but when it comes to Italy and its 7600km (4720 miles) of coastline the option does not seem limited anymore.
Another big advantage of visiting Italy by cruise is that your mean of transport travels with you, so you won’t have to worry about hire car, train schedule, airport check in or any of that. You sleep or enjoy your time while on board and travelling from one astonishing destination to another.
As the transportation is sorted what about accommodation? Well, I am sure you can see where I am going with this. Accommodation also travel with you and so you won’t have to spend hours on Tripadvisor or Trivago evaluating Hotel reviews to choose the best deal at the best hotel. Most of all, you do not have to worry about packing and un-packing every few days.
Of course, there are limitation. On where you are going, how much time you have available in a place and of course there is the slower speed of travelling. But if you consider that the journey is also part of the fun, those minor setbacks are easily overcome by an unforgettable experience.
As I said earlier when talking about Italy there are more than 150 ports between major and big (circa 20) for cruise ships and container ships, and smaller harbours for touristic purpose or private yacht. Being a “Sea Devoted” country this many numbers of ports would give you so many different option that will fulfil your taste buds.
The Mediterranean Sea – Western Side (Tyrrhenian Sea)
For some reason the cruise companies have divided the Mediterranean Sea in two zones: The Eastern part and the Western part. The Western part it includes Morocco, Spain, France, and then, of course, Italy but mainly the port of Genoa, La Spezia, Livorno, Civitavecchia (Rome), Naples, Sicily (Messina, Palermo and Catania), Sardinia (Cagliari and Olbia).
On the Eastern part instead, we have the Middle East, Egypt, Greece, Croatia, and in Italy we have Trieste, Venice, Ravenna, Ancona, Bari
Located in the Liguria region, north west of Italian country, Genova port historically have always been the major port of Italy. One of the biggest for load traffic, second only to Trieste, is the busiest port by cargo tonnage and it is one of the main Italian ports for touristic traffic such as Cruise ships. Its location it makes it the ideal port to visit the whole of north Italy but it is also the main access to the sea way towards the south Italy and the main island of Sicily and Sardinia.
From a tourist point of view most of the main cruise companies stops here and allow passenger to visit the beautiful city of Genova which is a gem on itself. Most of them also carries out daily tours for the “Cinque Terre” region but also Portofino and Sanremo and the famous “Riviera Ligure”.
The whole region of Liguria is sea devoted and in fact 3 of the major ports in Italy are based. One being Genova one Savona where Costa Cruise company has its base and La Spezia. The Port vocation of La Spezia is due to its natural shape that it is harbouring by nature. Bay in here is the natural choice as the port is very close to the train station that will allow you to jump on the train toward the trip of “Cinque Terre” of which we have talked about in our Train Story article. The city of La Spezia and so the port are actually much closer to Tuscany that they are to Genova and so from here you can easily reach some of the main tourist attraction of the Tuscany region such as Pisa, Lucca and Siena.
Still very close to the other two, the port of Livorno is conveniently located to be the bay approach for your exploring trip in Tuscany. Used mainly from the local as a loading point for ferry towards Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica and Elba Island. It is here that the Italian Navy force and navy seals have its base and the Officer Academy is also housed in Livorno. From a touristic point of view the city is also a little gem to explore with its medieval architectural approach, but it is also very close, again, to “Cinque Terre”, the Chianti region, Florence, Lucca Pisa and Siena.
We know, we have just done a big jump and it seems that we have ignored main ports like Rome and Naples, however, as you are reading us for a while you must remember that here at Repitaly we focused on what is not the main tourist path. Civitavecchia, is the port of Rome and Naples serve the whole of the Amalfi area. Lovely area we do know that, but far from our concept of the Second or further trip to Italy.
Messina port comes now on the list. Widely famous within the locals for being the entrance point into the Sicilian island from the mainland. Everyone who has been into Sicily has passed here at least once and would still remember it for one or another different reason.
However, Messina port is not only one of the main ferries port operator of the country, it has recently become a main destination for the cruise ships. From here in fact you can just visit the city and its seas devoted character, but you can also excurse on a short drive to the Etna Volcano or to Taormina.
Being in an island, and being the capital city of it, Palermo could not be without a port and in fact is one of the main one in the region and also in the Mediterranean Sea. Cruise ship had to re arrange their route in recent years. Tunisia was a main destination for this kind of tourism but that has switched into Palermo and we can only say that we are glad of it. The city in fact has so much to offer on itself that baying here for few days would be the perfect choice to get to know the Sicilian culture, art and also culinary tradition. Of course, once here you can also decide to go and explore the inland but while it is a necessity in place with no much to offer, here in Palermo is basically a plus. Monreale and Cefalu with its UNSECO world heritage site could be a great day trip from here.
This is the second biggest city in the Island and so it also could not be without a port. Although its vicinity with Messina make it less useful for the ferry transit but being in the middle of the island it makes it very strategic for load and commercial use. Once again, the cruise ships companies also saw the appealing and beauty of the city on is own and also recognised that Etna Volcano and the town of Taormina are just here and so many of them stops here.
We are still in the Western part of the Mediterranean cruise world but instead we change territory and we now decided to “dock” at Cagliari port in the Island of Sardinia. The port itself is the city centre. You cross the road and you have a big square with the government building on one side and the train station on the other. Carry on walking for few more metres down the city and you will be in the middle of the historic town where all the beauty of this Sardinian city will be unravelled in front of your eyes. There will be a little chaos at first as this side of the port is also used for the ferry connection to the mainland but once you’ll get out of the hustle and bustle your Sardinian experience will begin at its best.
On the northern part of the island we also have another major port such as the port of Olbia. Serving more directly the northern part of the island the port of Olbia is also used from celebrity alike as the area called Costa Smeralda is right here few kilometres away. Here the perfect design and style is luring celebrities from all over the world, some established themselves in here as summer residence and enjoying the lively and active night life while enjoying the calm and balanced lifestyle during the day. And of course, we do not forget the diet that in Sardinia is a treat for every palate.
The Mediterranean Sea – Eastern Side (Adriatic Sea)
The Adriatic sea is a stretch of water that is dividing Italy from the balcanic country. Very busy indeed with all sort of traffic from commercial to touristic this part of the world is filled with ports and marooned harbour. Italy has also taken advantage of the position and have a few major in here too.
We have talked a lot about Trieste and its beauty but once more this town is at the centre of our subject. Trieste port in fact it was one of the major ports in the whole of Europe when it was the only port of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was then the main travel connection from the western part of Europe and the eastern part of the world including Turkey Israel and the Arabs countries. During this period the economy in town flourish as there was need to have insurance, Money exchange office and trade body. Once this was considered the most multicultural city of Europe with established community from all over the world and that include religious integration. WWII was tragic for the city has it hold the second largest Jewish community in Italy and so was one of the most targeted cities in Italy. During the period right after the WWII it was used as main hub for the population of the north to emigrate into the rest of the world and in fact today Australia, Argentina, and USA have a rich population whose heritage root bring right here.
Today the economy still heavily relies on the port activities and in fact it makes the biggest port in Italy for tonnage of goods. Venice port was taking most of the Cruise ship business but a few changes, to preserve the beauties of Venice made the cruise companies to divert their traffic to Trieste and to Ravenna. This has actually showed to the world of cruise tourist the appeal of the city and of the area.
Harbouring here it might sound for some as dull and convenient only for the ship companies but once you will go on shore you will realise the treat that you have been exposed to.
After leaving Trieste and its astonishing landscape we start to explore the Adriatic sea a bit further and we now stop at the port of Ravenna. Located actually in the town of Ravenna a Mare this is just 12 kilometres from the main city. Cruise ship companies have now chosen this beautiful stop as the city of Ravenna is jewellery box. In fact the number of cultural and historical attraction in town is tremendous and most of if it are UNSECO world heritage site and they attracts a grooving number of visitors year by year. The port itself is also a fairly advantageous location for ferry connection between Italy and Croatia.
Next on our list is the port city of Ancona. The port is present in town since the middle ages and the economy of the city it is also have its root in it. The old town architecture will draw your attention and nourish your need for cultural and beauty. The people instead will entertain you quite vividly as people from Ancora and the Marche region are between the most friendly in the whole country. Not far from here your cruise ship would have organised a tour to the city of Urbino which is another special treat that Italy and the Marche region has to offer you. Also Ancona port is largely used by local as hub to go to Croatia.
Scrolling down the country we will now harbour our hypothetic cruise ship into the port of Bari. Used nowadays by many cruise ship operator the port of Bari is the perfect docking after maybe a couple days at sea. And once you land the city itself will amaze you with its look of small medieval village while being a regional capital city. There will also be tour organised to explore the inland territories and just to mention a few the characteristic village of Alberobello with its traditional and unique residential building called “Trulli”.
We now conclude our article about the cruise ship. We wanted to tell you about all the companies that are using one of the Italian Ports for their ships however we realised that a simple list would not help because there are so many and putting them in here would only be reductive. Also, following the concept of Repitaly we wanted to recommend to use one of the less popular ports, not only because you would enjoy your trip better for the quiet but also because it is there that you will find gem that you would not even think. The port of Trieste, Bari, Palermo and La Spezia are our favourite because by using them…………the sky is the limit.
We have talked in our Mean of Transport series about Airports, Trains, and now Cruises. Do not forget to read our article about “Driving In Italy”…………..