Sailing in Tuscany

Known for its culture, great food, stunning countryside, and great sailing

The dramatic coastline of Tuscany, with its charming sandy beaches, warm climate, and some of the best diving in the Mediterranean, it’s an easy choice to decide on Tuscany for a sailing trip. While Tuscany may be known for its culture, great food, and stunning countryside, it also has some of the best areas for sailing in Italy. Decide on your type of boat and your departure harbor and then you’re ready to set sail in Tuscany.

Rich with cultural, culinary and architectural highlights, Tuscany is a relatively new and upcoming Italian sailing destination - definitely not to be missed.

Start from Cala de 'Medici in Castiglioncello or La Spezia a bit further North and enjoy the most romantic and picturesque Italian region. Try the delicious Tuscan food, visit the unmissable Saturnia hot springs, book a wine tour and explore the legendary Elba island.


  1. Elba Island
Elba is undoubtedly the most famous of the 7 Tuscan islands and the 3rd largest island in Italy (after Sardinia and Sicily). It is best known for its historical side, as it was the island where emperor Napoleon was exiled. In fact, you can still visit his villas. Elba is a relatively small island, yet has so many different locations for visitors to explore; we recommend Campo nell’Elba or Porto Azzurro.

2. Giglio Island

For a true Tuscan feel head to Giglio island. The island’s 3 picturesque towns of Giglio Porto, Giglio Campese and Giglio Castello will satisfy even the most demanding of travellers. Giglio island is also ideal for snorkelling (you can even explore underwater shipwrecks) and you really shouldn’t miss the beautiful sandy beach in Campese as well as a taste of the famous Giglio white wines.

3. Pianosa Island

Explore the almost uninhabited, so flat that it can barely be seen from a distance, Pianosa island. Pianosa has become a hotspot for diving enthusiasts and other than wildlife, you will only find a handful of humans ashore.

4. Giannutri Island

A privately owned island, near Giglio, Giannutri is rich in archaeological sites. It is only reachable by boat as the island’s owners do not allow hotels, and of course no camping. However, you can book a guided tour for ashore exploration. Don’t miss out on Cala Spalmatoio and Cala Maestra.

5. Montecristo Island

Montecristo is such a unique island that you actually need to apply for a visit and it only opens for specific months each year ..for a few lucky visitors who will get to experience the island’s perfectly preserved flora and fauna. Montecristo has of course become famous in the novel “The Count of Montecristo” by Alexandre Dumas and has a very rich history. You can only visit Montecristo island with a rented yacht, as no ferry lines are connecting it to the mainland or other islands.

6. Capraia Island

Capraia is the only volcanic island of the Tuscan archipelago and the island’s only sandy beach Cala della Mortola is only reachable by boat. The marina in Porto di Capraia can accommodate up to 99 boats, and as it gets hectic in the summer months, we recommend pre-booking your berth. Don’t miss out on the Cala Rossa anchorage to view the unique, red volcanic cliffs.

7. Gorgona Island

Gorgona is the smallest island in the Tuscan archipelago and it is completely uninhabited. You can only visit Gorgona with permission from the local authorities or book a guided tour. Sailing around the island is forbidden.
Elba, Giglio, Pianosa, Giannutri, Montecristo, Capraia and Gorgona

Best time to visit Tuscany & Sailing conditions
The best time for a Tuscany yacht charter is during the summer months, however, Tuscany is known for mild and warm falls so you may also want to consider a low season yacht charter for lower prices and fewer crowds.

The Tuscan archipelago is ideal for those looking for exhilarating sailing with rather strong and steady North-West winds.

Where to start & how to get there
There is currently only one yacht charter base from where you can explore the Tuscan archipelago, in Cala de 'Medici in Castiglioncello.

There are a couple of nearby airports that serve Castiglioncello, such as Pisa international airport, Florence Airport, La Spezia Airport and Genoa Airport.

Of course, you can easily reach Castiglioncello by car and train (to Castiglioncello Centrale in Rosignano Solvay).

Time from Pisa Airport to Marina Cala De' Medici - 40 mins by car.

Provisioning & Mooring
A visit to Tuscany is not complete without a taste of true Tuscan food. Don’t miss out on the local delicacies: ribolitta, pappa al pomodoro and of course the famous steak “bistecca alla Fiorentina”.

In this region, you will also find many open-air food markets with local fresh produce, and for the wine lovers, we recommend a wine tour in Chianti (near Florence) which is the largest and most famous wine region in Italy.

For mooring during a Tuscany sailing holiday, you will find an abundance of options, from organised marinas to secluded bays.

Much of Tuscan cuisine is inspired by traditional “peasant food” of the farming region, so is often quite simple and rustic in its flavors and ingredients. But, just because they have humble roots, doesn’t mean that food in this part of Italy is any less delicious than you would expect.

Here are some of the dishes you don’t want to miss when touring this beautiful part of the world.

1. Crostini Toscani
When you’re dining anywhere in Tuscany – a restaurant or a family home – there will scarcely be a meal that doesn’t begin with Crostini Toscani. Chicken liver pate served on a thin piece of toasted bread, this starter is a staple of Tuscan cuisine. It was made famous by Catherine de’ Medici, the Italian noblewoman who became the Queen of France in the 16th century when she introduced a range of her favorite Italian dishes to the food-loving French. This was touted as the inspiration for foie gras, so was an important piece of culinary evolution.

2. Panzanella
Panzanella is full of classic Italian flavors – bread, tomatoes, onion, basil, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar all tossed together in a salad. The salad works best with stale bread and first eventuated because Italians thought it a travesty to throw out their days-old bread. So, instead of letting it go to waste, they soaked the stale bread in water to soften it up, before mixing it together with the other fresh ingredients to create a tasty and hearty salad.

3. Bistecca alla Fiorentina
A favorite of Tuscan home cooks and carnivores alike, the Bistecca alla Fiorentina is a T-bone steak from a local breed of cow, the Chianina cattle. The steak is served simply, seasoned with herbs such as rosemary and sage. Be warned – a traditional Bistecca alla Fiorentina is served rare and Tuscan people may be scandalized if you order it any other way.

4. Fagioli con salsiccia
When you describe a dish as beans with sausage, it doesn’t sound very appealing, but that’s exactly what Fagioli con salsiccia is, and it’s as tasty as can be. This rustic meal is made by soaking borlotti beans in water to soften them, before cooking them with onions, garlic, crumbled sausage meat, chili and crushed tomatoes. It may not look pretty, but it is the perfect comfort food on a cold night.

5. Tagliatelle al tartufo
When you visit Italy you simply have to indulge in a bowl of pasta (or 50), and Tagliatelle al tartufo is a unique pasta dish you definitely don’t want to miss. Think long ribbons of delicate tagliatelle pasta, swirled with warm, melted butter, and garlic and then decadently topped with shavings of black truffle and parmigiano cheese. The earthy umami of the black truffles is distinctly European in flavor and delicious to boot.

6. Biscotti di Prato
These hard biscuits are arguably Tuscany’s most famous sweet treat– made of flour, eggs, sugar and nuts (normally almonds and pine nuts). Biscotti di Prato is a delicious accompaniment to an Italian espresso or, some locals prefer to enjoy them with a glass of local Vin Santo, a dessert wine perfect for dipping the biscuits in.

Day 1. Capraia Island → Marciana Marina (Elba Island)
Capraia Island is a hidden gem of the Tuscan Archipelago, with rugged beauty and wild landscapes that will leave you in awe. The island is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, with hiking trails that wind through lush forests and along the rocky coastline, offering breathtaking views at every turn. The crystal-clear waters that surround the island are perfect for snorkeling, diving, and swimming, with an abundance of marine life to discover. The town is small but charming, with colorful houses and a picturesque harbor that is perfect for watching the sunset. Capraia Island is a reminder of the beauty of unspoiled nature and the importance of preserving it for future generations.

Departing from Capraia Island, you'll feel a sense of adventure as you set sail towards Marciana Marina. The rugged coastline and crystal-clear waters of Capraia will slowly fade away as you approach the colorful harbor of Marciana Marina. The town is nestled at the foot of a mountain, giving it a unique charm that you'll instantly fall in love with. You'll be welcomed by the locals with open arms and enjoy the delicious local cuisine, giving you a true taste of the Tuscan Archipelago.

Day 2. Marciana Marina (Elba Island) → Marina di Campo (Elba Island)
As you leave Marciana Marina behind, you'll be struck by the sheer beauty of the Tuscan Archipelago. The scenery is breathtaking as you sail towards Marina di Campo, a picturesque beach town that is one of the most beautiful places on Elba Island. You'll anchor in the bay, surrounded by lush green hills, and be greeted by the warm Mediterranean sun. Spend the day swimming, snorkeling, and soaking up the sun on the long stretches of white sand that make this place so special.

Elba Island is a true gem of the Mediterranean, with stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a rich history that dates back to ancient times. The island is the third-largest in Italy and offers visitors a wealth of opportunities to explore its natural beauty, from hiking trails that wind through pine forests to secluded coves that are perfect for swimming and snorkeling. The island's charming towns are also well worth a visit, with a vibrant cultural scene and a variety of shops, restaurants, and cafes to discover.

Day 3. Marina di Campo (Elba Island) → Giglio Island

For those seeking a truly unforgettable experience, Elba Island is the perfect destination. The island's breathtaking landscapes and pristine waters offer endless opportunities for outdoor adventures, while its rich history and culture make it a fascinating place to explore. From the stunning beaches and coves to the charming towns and villages, Elba Island is a must-visit destination.

As you set sail towards Giglio Island, you'll feel a sense of excitement and anticipation. This small but stunning island is a hidden gem in the Tuscan Archipelago, with coves, crystal-clear waters, and beautiful beaches that will leave you in awe. The island is wild and rugged, with a natural beauty that is unmatched. You'll anchor in one of the secluded bays, surrounded by nothing but the sound of the waves and the beauty of nature. Spend the day snorkeling, exploring the island, and discovering the hidden corners that make this place so special.

Day 4. Giglio Island → Giannutri Island

As you sail towards Giannutri Island, you'll feel a sense of wonder and amazement. This small island is a paradise for divers, with some of the best diving spots in the region. The island's rocky coastline, dramatic cliffs, and clear waters are a testament to the power and beauty of nature. Dive into the deep blue and marvel at the underwater landscape, teeming with marine life. The island is a reminder of the importance of preserving the natural world and enjoying its beauty.

Day 5. Giannutri Island → Porto Azzurro (Gulf of Mola, Elba Island)

As you cruise towards Porto Azzurro, you'll feel a sense of peace and tranquility. The town's picturesque harbor is surrounded by colorful houses and stunning landscapes, giving it a unique charm that you'll instantly fall in love with. Take a stroll through the town, visit the local shops, and enjoy a delicious meal at one of the many restaurants. The beauty of the town will leave you feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.

Day 6. Porto Azzurro (Gulf of Mola, Elba Island) → Gulf of Baratti

As you sail towards the Gulf of Baratti, you'll feel a sense of excitement and anticipation. The area is rich in history, with ancient Etruscan ruins and medieval fortifications to explore. The scenery is breathtaking, with a stunning bay surrounded by lush green hills and dotted with small beaches. Spend the day swimming, relaxing, and soaking up the breathtaking scenery. The Gulf of Baratti is a reminder of the incredible history and natural beauty of the Tuscan Archipelago.

Day 7. Gulf of Baratti → Capraia Island

As you return to Capraia Island, you'll feel a sense of sadness that your adventure is coming to an end.

If you're looking for a place to escape the crowds and immerse yourself in nature, Capraia Island is the perfect destination. The island's rugged terrain and wild beauty make it a paradise for adventurers, with opportunities to explore hidden coves, climb steep cliffs, and discover stunning beaches. The island is also steeped in history, with ancient Roman and Etruscan ruins to explore. The local cuisine is a delicious blend of fresh seafood and traditional Tuscan dishes, with a variety of restaurants and cafes to choose from. Whether you're looking to relax on the beach or explore the great outdoors, Capraia Island is a truly special place that will leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.

Related articles