Ponza Italy

About the islands of the Tyrrhenian Sea

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Where are the islands of the Tyrrhenian Sea?

From North to South, East to West, this mountainous land slopes into the rocky, indented coasts of the Tyrrhenian and Ionian Seas in the west and southeast respectively, and toward the softer, sandier shores of the Adriatic in the east. From these seas that wash up upon the “beautiful country” surge two magnificent islands – Sicily and Sardinia – in addition to numerous tiny archipelagos. These include the Tuscan Archipelago, to which Elba belongs; the Archipelago of the Maddalena in Sardinia; the Campanian Archipelago with Ischia and Capri; and finally the Pontine Islands off the southern shores of Lazio. Between the coasts of Tunisia and Sicily, we also find the Pelagian (Lampedusa) Islands and, to Sicily’s north, the Aeolians – with two active volcanoes, Stromboli and Vulcano – and the Egadi Islands, a natural reserve. Last but not least, in Puglia, there are the splendid Islands of Tremiti.

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From Liguria to the Maritime Alps (west of Genova) and the Appenine zone of Liguria, the foothills of the Alpine Mountains push out and brush the waves that lap at the Italian Riviera. With their high and rocky cliffs, these rugged coasts are rich with gorgeous nooks, crannies and deep, deep sea-beds. The marvels of nature do not stop there. This area is a paradise for numerous animal species and for humans alike: whether you want to watch nature or seek the thrill of water sports, you can enjoy a variety of activities in both the protected areas of Cinque Terre and Poets’ Gulf.

The Beaches

The beaches on the Tuscan coast are lower and sandier even though it comprises the coast of the Apuan Alps, Versilia, littoral Pisa and the Etruscan Coast. All these spots have seen vibrant touristic activity since the 1960s. The rather well-known Islands of Elba and Capraia lie about 12 mi off the region’s coast, and although they make up part of the Tuscan Archipelago, they reside in the Ligurian Sea.

Continuing along the shores that line the Tyrrhenian, one finds the Maremma, Lazio and then Campania, in large part low and sandy in character but with random, rocky peninsulas that almost meet the edge of the Pontine Islands.

Going further south, the Bay of Naples eventually opens itself up to the Sea, followed by the Amalfi Coast, the Gulf of Salerno and the high, rocky promontory of Cilento. This wonderfully lofty and jagged terrain continues almost all the way to the Strait of Messina that separates Sicily from the rest of the Continent.

The Southern Coasts bathing in the Ionian Sea, resemble the shorelines sitting on the Tyrrhenian Sea: steep and precipitous bluffs where the Appennine Range is closest to the sea, and uniform, consistent where Calabria and Basilicata move toward Apulia, near the mouth of the River Po.

Excluding the promontories of Monte Gargano and Mount Conero, the littoral zone awash in the Adriatic Sea is made up of an immense sandy swathe of land, naturally the location for many seaside establishments.

The largest Italian island, Sicily, is edged by a mountainous, serrated coastline in the north and east (as in Taormina), and by flatter shores in the south and west (think the Trapani Coast and Egadi Islands). Sicily, too, is covered in natural reserves and breathtaking landscapes. The region is absolutely astonishing, as are all its surrounding islets, where vacationers flock from every part of the world.

It is also in the Tyrrhenian Sea that we find the Island of Sardinia, where the shores are varyingly rocky and smooth (Costa Smeralda). Giant boulders, as well as other islands large and small (e.g. Maddalena, Caprera), make up the off-shore landscape of Sardinia.