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The Ultimate Guide to Surfing Italy in 2024

Updated: Feb 2

Italy is home to exceptional food, fashion, incredible beaches, and thousand-year-old towns reminiscent of past empires, with influences from both Greek and Roman architecture.

The culture runs deep.

If you’ve ever spoken with any local Italians, they will likely tell you with pride where they are from.

Italy hasn’t been known for its surf scene for long, or I should say, ever.

When you think of solid a-frames and barreling sections in Europe, you think of Portugal and France.

However, Italian surf breaks have been making their way into the scene over the last decade or so.

Italy Surf Guide

Waves in Italy

I wouldn’t be planning any surf trips to Italy in the summer as it tends to be flat, and if there are waves, they will likely be small with mixed swells and inconsistent sets.

It can, however, be a kitesurfing paradise during the summer months.

Italian surf breaks rely on wind swells and hurricane swells, and they typically don’t get rolling until around late September and early October, with the ideal period being from December until February and March.

Sardinia is by far the most consistent place to snag waves during the winter months.

There are many regions in Italy where the swells do hit that can turn on and showcase why it should be at least considered if you are planning a winter surf trip.

From surfing in the north near Tuscany and Liguria to the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, as well as the west coast near Rome, if you catch the right swell, you could be in for double overhead waves with barreling sections. Typically, the waves here range from 3 to 8 ft when it’s not blown out.

Surf Culture in Italy

Italy is surrounded by water on all three sides; it would be hard to believe that such a place did not have much of a surf culture until about 20 years ago.

With roughly 4,900 miles of coastline, including the larger islands of Sardinia and Sicily, as well as the smaller ones scattered across the country, it is said that people first surfed in Italy around the 1980s in the northern region of Liguria.

Surfers like Roberto D’Amico and Leonardo Fioravanti are some of the more famous surfers that have helped influence Italian surf culture, with Fioravanti being the only Italian surfer ever to be on the Championship Tour.

Most breaks are typically welcoming to foreigners, but not all breaks will be suitable for all levels of surfers.

It depends on the type of break, whether it be beach, reef, or point.

If you are used to the localized crowds of California, such as the likes of Windansea, Blacks, and Trestles, these lineups should be a walk in the park.

Just remember, wherever you surf, to show respect to the locals and others in the lineup.

Gear Needed to Surf In Italy

Winter in Italy gets cold — like two jackets and cozy shoes cold — for those of you used to Californian and Floridian winters.

However, the water doesn’t get nearly as cold as the outside air temperature. Water temperature in Sardinia ranges from 57°F to 65°F, in Sicily from 59°F to 70°F, in Liguria from 54°F to 62°F, and near Rome, it ranges from 59°F to 63°F.

The coldest water temperatures occur around December through February.

During this time, you will likely wear the same type of wetsuits you would use in Southern Californian winters: a 3/2 mm for temperatures between 60°F and 65°F, and for anything from 60°F down to 55°F, I’d recommend a 4/3 mm wetsuit with booties, and a hood being optional.

The Best Surf Spots In Italy

Sardinia (The King of Italian Surfing)

Capo Mannu: Largely regarded as the best break in Sardinia, Capo Mannu is a must-surf when going to the island.

Located on the west coast, it is a reef break that swings into the bay.

The best wind swell direction is southwest, and wind from the north.

The tide tends to affect this main break and be wary of the locals; they can be a bit aggro.

Photo: Capo Mannu/credit: Paolo Carta

Buggerru, Il Molo: Nestled in the bay of a beautiful old mining town with white sand beaches and the backdrop of mountains, Buggerru, Il Molo is a beach break that can get to double overhead.

It is most consistent with northwest and southwest wind swells, thanks to the jetty that runs along the break. It can get bowly with occasional barrels in good conditions, offering good lefts and rights.

When it's on, locals will be out and ripping.

Goroneddu: A shallow reef break with some exposed reef, south of Spiaggia di Acqua Sa Canna.

It features a mix of lefts and rights. When the northwest swell hits, it can be a powerful A-Frame that can hold up to 12 feet.

Portixeddu: A sandy bottom beach break and point break, Portixeddu offers a point break with sweeping long rights and a beach break with a mix of lefts and rights.

The best wind swell direction is from the west, and wind coming from the east.

It can have tubing sections when the wind is offshore.

Best of all, the water is turquoise blue and extremely clear.


Siracusa South: Right off Punta Milocca is Siracusa South, hailed as one of the best surf breaks in southern Italy.

Just a 20-minute commute to the main city of Siracusa, this heavily Greek-influenced city used to be the Greek capital of Sicily and was once one of the most powerful and richest in the region.

When the southwest swell hits just right, it can be an A-framing peaky right that can hold anywhere from three to 10 feet.

Mondello: Just southeast of Palermo, you will find Mondello. Towering over the bay on each flank is Monte Pellegrino and Monte Gallo.

Il Moletto is the main break in the bay of Mondello. It is a rocky reef break with decent lefts that roll into the bay.

It typically doesn’t get over head high but holds knee to head high well. The best swell direction is northeast, and wind direction is southwest.

Giardini Naxos: Giardini Naxos is in one of the most picturesque locations of Sicily, with backdrops of Mount Etna and Taormina just three miles away.

Typically, only knee to head high, this break flourishes off southwest ground swells and eastern wind swells. It is a rocky reef left-hander that has the potential to barrel if the conditions align perfectly.


Photo credit: Fabio Palmerini (Varazze) 

Varazze: This hustling A-Frame wave sits right off the jetty in front of the beach town of Varazze. It is the beauty of the northern Italian Riviera of Liguria and by far one of the best breaks in Italy. Molo Marinai d’Italia is the main break at Varazze.

If the stars align, this place can be as heavy as the North Shore of Hawaii.

The ideal wind direction is north-northwest, and the wind swell direction is south-southwest. Its cobblestone reef makes it the Trestles of Italy.

Okay... Okay... I won't go that far, but it does make you double-take.

Levanto: This might be one of the most unique surfing backdrops in the world, only a 12-minute bus ride to the famous colorful seaside towns of Cinque Terre.

The bay offers a wide range of waves, from point breaks to beach breaks, but it rarely gets waves that are overhead.

The ideal wind swell direction is southwest, and the wind direction comes offshore from the northeast and southeast depending on the break.

There are five main breaks in the bay of Levanto.

From north to south, there is La Gritta, Nadia, Pipetta, Casino, and Pietra. La Gritta is a right-point break, its counterpart Pietra is a left-point break. The middle three are beach breaks that can have both lefts and rights.

Photo: Levanto / Credit: Giovanni Moioli


Photo: Banzai (Santa Marinella) Photo by Capannini

Banzai: Located one hour northwest of Rome in the town of Santa Marinella, when it is pumping, this barreling wave feels like you are seeing Windansea when it’s on.

Banzai is a cobblestone reef that turns on when the wind swell comes from the southwest and the wind from the north.

It will likely be flat in the summer, but in the winter, it can be quite consistent.

If this heavy break is firing, there will likely be crowds out, and locals won’t be too happy if you snag their waves.

The Bottom Line: Surfing in Italy

While the surf scene in Italy is constantly growing, especially as winter swells shine a light on these unexpected rippable breaks.

The best thing about surfing anywhere in Italy — or visiting an Italian beach — is that after a long day in the water, you come in and enjoy a nice glass of vino bianco or rosso paired with branzino or Nonna’s ravioli.

After dinner, you have the luxury of touring thousand-year-old ruins and walking where the ancient Greeks and Romans once called home. 

1 Comment

Sold me on surfing in Sardinia! Outstanding article. Grazie!

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