We visited six beaches on the mainland of southern Italy, three in Sicily and then 23 in Sardinia. Here are the six in southern Italy and the three in Sicily. Sardinia requires two postings of its own for the east coast and the north coast. This review does not attempt to be comprehensive. Just the ones we happen to visit in June.
Marina Picolla – Island of Capri - 73
Marina Picolla (little port) is on the less developed side of the island away form the main port. It has a few hotels but is mostly covered with private homes with wonderful gardens. There is a small beach at the bottom of the road with a few bars and restaurants. The beach has amazing views with cliffs and large rocks placed off shore. The sun sets over two large rocks that are often seen in post cards of the island. You can rent kayaks, canoes, etc. There is a private and public part of the beach. Water – 8, Sand – 3 (many small pebbles makes walking difficult, especially in the surf), Shade – 4, Bars – 8 (nice one outdoors right at the beach), Parking – 5, Crowds – 7, Natural Beauty – 20, Ambience - 18 (nice homes and bars nearby)
Private Beach La Fenice Bed and Breakfast – Positano, Amalfi Coast - 67
This is the only private beach we rated. It is open to guests of the place we stayed at but was charming and we could not resist. There are many other small beaches like this one so it can be used as a measure of many of them. Water – 8, Sand – 3 (many small pebbles makes walking difficult, especially in the surf), Shade – 4, Bars – 2, Parking – 5, Crowds – 9, Natural Beauty – 18, Ambience - 18 (the vacation home of the current Prime Minister of Italy is nearby with its own private beach).
Spiaggia Grande is Italian for large beach. This beach is where the town meets to sea and is very urban, lined with bars and restaurants. Boats leave the beach for tours and trips to nearby Capri. It is very lively with interesting crowds at all times. They were filming a video of two tango dancers one of the nights we were there and watched over dinner at a restaurant right on the beach. Water – 8, Sand – 5 (more sand than the others), Shade – 4, Bars – 10, Parking – 3, Crowds – 6, Natural Beauty – 18, Ambience – 20.
Minori – Amalfi Coast - 62
This beach is also where the town meets to sea and is very urban, lined with bars and restaurants. Minori is much older and much nicer than nearby Maiori which is mostly new hotels. We had a nice lunch of panini at a beach bar. A wide tree lined boardwalk lines the beach. Water – 6, Sand – 4, Shade – 1, Bars – 8, Parking – 9, Crowds – 5, Natural Beauty – 16, Ambience – 14.
Bagnara Calabria – 45
This town is in a great setting but is mostly new and uninteresting construction. There is a town beach that runs the length of the town coast. It has a continuous boardwalk and some beach bars. Water – 6, Sand – 5, Shade – 1, Bars – 5, Parking – 7, Crowds – 5, Natural Beauty – 10, Ambience – 6.
Scilla Calabria - 52
Scilla is next to Bagnara and is mentioned in Homer. There is an old fort giving it a bit more ambiance than its neighbor but is otherwise similar. Water – 6, Sand – 5, Shade – 1, Bars – 7, Parking – 8, Crowds – 5, Natural Beauty – 10, Ambience – 10.
Fondachello – Sicily – 39
This beach is south of Taormina and is the best beach we saw in this area but that does not say much. Its claim for this distinction is the natural pine forest than is behind it rather than uninteresting new housing. Water – 5, Sand – 6, Shade – 1, Bars – 4, Parking – 8, Crowds – 6, Natural Beauty – 8, Ambience – 2.
Santa Alessio Siculo -Sicily– 34
This beach north of Taormina claims the distinction of being the worst beach we rated. It has bordered by uninteresting modern housing and a continuous boardwalk with construction in progress. Water – 4, Sand – 5, Shade – 1, Bars – 4, Parking – 8, Crowds – 6, Natural Beauty – 4, Ambience – 2.
Eraclea Minoa – Sicily - 78
This beach in a national park near Sciacca on the southern Sicilian coast restored out faith in Italian beaches and was the best beach we saw until arriving in Sardinia. There is a nice beach town and a pine forest with plenty of parking separates the town form the beach. A number of bars are well place. Also, there is smooth soft sand which was a welcome relief form the pebbly beaches we encountered so far. We went there tow days in a row. Water – 7, Sand – 8, Shade – 9, Bars – 6, Parking – 9, Crowds – 7, Natural Beauty – 16, Ambience – 16.
Over the next two days, I will rate beaches on the east and north coasts of Sardinia where many achieved ratings over 80. Once again, I welcome any paying opportunities to apply the scale to locations of your choice.