It's winter time, so some of you are
probably thinking of heading to warmer climes for some solid waves and to shed
some rubber, but have you ever thought of the Med, with it's wonderful culture,
delicious food, great wine and waves?
We are talking about North Western Italy
thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s north of Rome to the border with France with a central base of the seaside town
What sort of waves will I find?
Well believe it or not thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s pretty much
every sort of wave you could imagine in this region. Levanto itself has some
Okay beachies but is best known for ItalyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s
longest lefthander and ItalyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s
premier big wave spot. In the surrounding area there is everything from
beachbreaks to heavy reefs and all sorts of waves in between.
Where does the swell come from and when is
it best to visit?
The most consistent time to go is mid
winter. The Mistral wind blows consistently from the north
west as cold air funnels down the Rhone
valley. This wind generates swells from waste high to double overhead depending
on the strength. These Mistral swells tend to rise quickly but are easy to
predict, they are short period affairs though. The other main swell generating
systems are low pressures which form in the Med, west of Italy. These
can produce longer period and better quality swells although they are less
regular and harder to predict than Mistral swells.
What else is there to do?
This is Italy the cradle of civilisation
and thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s loads to do. Rome
is a couple of hours away and has the coliseum, incredible architecture,
galleries, football, and shed loads of nightlife. Florence isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t far inland either and is a
treasure trove of art and culture and thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s this leaning tower thing just
down the road which is popular. Milan
is only a couple of hours north with football and just beyond world class
skiing and snowboarding. The local seafood is incredible and the wine likewise,
quite simply has everything.
How do I get there?
Cheap flights are easy to come by to Rome, Milan or Florence and then itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just
a short drive to the coast. Alternatively you could take your surfboards, go
snowboarding in the Italian or French Alps and when the Mistral steps up a
gear, burn down to the Italian coast for some sun and surf. Obviously itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s easy
to drive as well and the area is well connected to public transport routes.
Will I score uncrowded world class waves?
Probably not on either counts. The Italians
love the beach and love to surf and some spots have become quite territorial,
but as with anywhere respect and patience gets waves. The waves themselves can
turn on though this is not a regular occurrence. In the winter months however,
the surf is consistent so youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d be unlucky to spend a week in winter on this
coast and not get to surf on at least a couple of days.