During the European summer, many foreigners head to the big cities like Rome, Milan and Florence expecting to dance the night away but the reality is that Italians of all ages leave the cities for the coast during the warmer months and consequently you won’t get an accurate idea of Italian nightlife as the best bars and nightclubs close down and you’ll be surrounded by tourists.
To really live an Italian summer by night, head to these beachside destinations for top DJs, cool crowds and an atmosphere that is decidedly less ‘Contiki’ and more ‘dolce vita’.
You won’t even see this tiny little island on the map of Italy unless you zoom right in. It belongs to an archipelago off Sicily called the Aeolian Islands. You will have to catch a ferry out from the mainland but it’s worth it. Many people hire boats so that they can tour the islands during the day and then come back to Panarea to party at night. Whether you’re staying on the island or onboard a boat moored in the bay, you’ll witness the island come alive from sunset on the rooftops for aperitivo to dancing in the open-air clubs. The night doesn’t finish until 6am when everyone heads from the nightclub Raya down to the port to buy chocolate-filled croissants, hot from the island’s bakery for breakfast. There are local boys in little dinghies who will ferry you back to your boat for a small fee around sunrise if the rest of your companions left you on the dancefloor. Otherwise, you can skip going to bed altogether and be at the centre of the morning’s people-watching as everyone emerges in their designer sarongs to sit in the piazza and order strawberry granitas for breakfast.
Forte Dei Marmi
When you think of Tuscany you think green hills and sunflowers but this is just one facet of the region. Every weekend in June and July the jet set crowd of Florence and Milan head here to swim and party and be seen. In August you’ll find the bars along the beach are in constant festa mode. Take a change of outfit, as the same bars that serve you coffee and panini during the day turn into outdoor nightclubs as soon as the sun sets.
Aside from all the villas and bling, this glamour island is closely tied to Naples at its heart and therefore they really do love to sing and dance. Anema e Core is the most famous club for the sexiest crowd, the most fun you’ve ever had singing vintage Italian ’50s songs and the famous entertainer Guido Lembo who, with raucous his band, literally gets people dancing on the tables. Not for the faint-hearted or those who don’t like being embraced by complete strangers.
Let’s face it, Italians do beachside chic very, very well so it’s difficult to speak definitively but the island of Sardinia is for the seriously sophisticated Italians, who want their champagne, their private beach umbrella and the ubiquitous ‘white’ party every night of the holiday. The beaches are legendary, although the area can be susceptible to strong winds at times. It is possible to rent a house or apartment and not blow the budget but flights from the mainland can be pricey during high season. In return you get to be a part of some of the best summer parties and clubs Italy has to offer. Celebrities, politicians, Italians, foreigners, the young, the young at heart – almost everyone falls in love with this island. If booking accommodation, be sure to search ‘Sardegna Costa Azzurra’ as being on the other side of the island away from the action can be tranquil during the day but quite a distance to travel if you want to go for dinner and dancing in where all the action is happening at night.