With a name deriving from the ancient Etruscans, the Tyrrhenian is also home to some of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean, such as Elba, Capri or Stromboli, but the coastline on the mainland is not to be dismissed either, with plenty of spectacular cliffs and rock formations. All these improve the number of yacht charter Italy fans that come here every year.
Sea & Coast
The Tyrrhenian Sea is part of the Mediterranean, being located off the west coast of Italy, east of Corsica, Sardinia and north of Sicily. The island of Elba delimitates its most northern part. The southwestern limit of the sea is debated among specialists but that doesn’t deter from the beauty of this sea, home to some of the most attractive locations such as Palermo, Naples, Elba, Capri, Stromboli and Cagliari.
The name comes from the Italian Mar Tirreno, which in turn comes from the Greek name given to the Etruscans who were said to be led by Prince Tyrrhenus. When the Etruscans settled the coast which is today Tuscany, the sea became known as “Sea of the Etruscans”. To sailors the Tyrrhenian is synonymous with the famous Tuscan coast, the rugged islands of Elba, Corsica and Sardinia and a quintessential Italian charm.
Because it is located in a volcanic region, the seabed is full of underwater volcanic ranges, which would explain the granite shores both on the Italian peninsula and on the islands at the extremities. This often results in spectacular cliffs and rock formations near the shores, but even more often it means lots of bays and coves where an skipper can drop anchor.
The vegetation in the region is made up of thick forests on the higher slopes, made up of pine trees and vineyards and olive groves on extended planes (in Tuscany especially), a enthusiast’s delight, while the islands of the Tyrrhenian are characterized by a shrub vegetation, some specific to this region, like the myrtle and other aromatic shrubs, but there are also holm-oaks and cork oaks present.
The climate is also dependant on the elevation, being cooler and more humid in the higher regions and warmer along the coast. The summers are hot and dry and the winters rainy but with mild temperatures. For the holidaymakers, the best time to visit is in between April and October.
Culture & History
This region of the Mediterranean is quintessentially Italian in all aspects of life, since it was settled by the ancient Etruscans and then home to the mighty Romans. For most of its history, the Italian coast and the islands were mostly rural, an area used mostly for agriculture due to the favorable climatic condition and the rich volcanic soil, but in later decades it has become more appealing to visitors for a number of reasons: the culture, the cuisine, the landscape and the lovely weather.
Seamanship & Experience
The ancient Greeks considered that the cliffs high above the Tyrrhenian Sea where the place where King Aeolus kept the four winds. Today, this remains a legend but the fact that remains is that 4 winds do meet here: the Mistral from the French Rhone valley, the Libeccio from the southwest open waters of the Mediterranean, the Scirocco and the Ostro from the African continent to the south. Each blows during a specific time of the year so skippers should always take them into consideration when sailing here.