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For those who want new ways to explore the rich cultural heritage of Italy, there are an increasing number of journeys by water through this breathtaking Mediterranean country, through Italy’s picturesque rivers, lakes and coast.

Taking a cruise, whether on a small yacht, a deluxe liner or combining a land vacation with a cruise, is arguably one of the best ways to travel through Italy. The Great Mediterranean has a rich past of different civilizations, and today’s Southern Italy is a dream. From its culinary traditions, vast selection of excellent wines and temperate climate, seafront beach villas and picturesque harbours, one can enjoy sun-drenched afternoons on an excursion, perhaps some hiking or even golf. Enjoy the refreshing sea breeze punctuated with hints of basil, rosemary and thyme as you partake in the day’s fresh catch with pasta and a delectable choice of wine and cheese. Tour around Sicily, the Amalfi Coast, Naples and remote Aeolian Isles and explore its ancient heritage of medieval castles, stone-walled fortresses and Gothic cathedrals. Spend the mornings exploring a Naples market where the freshest ingredients abound, or visit Sardinia’s stunning Costa Smeralda.

Cruises coupled with rail travel is also a popular package. High-speed first class trains which go between cities is efficient as well as fun, as you break the journey by spending a night or two sailing through Italy’s waterways.

Day cruises are also worth doing, as visitors can spend the day leisurely on the boat, cruising by centuries-old monasteries and villas while hearing stories told by crumbling walls and ancient ruins. And when night falls, what better place to retire than to one of the charming hotels perched atop the rocky slopes overlooking the water.

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