Sometimes a vacation isn't just about surfing. We know, crazy talk! But stay with us. It's about indulging in traditional cuisine and culture that can only be found in that very region. It's being enamored by feats of architecture and lush landscapes you've never seen before. Sure, we came to Italy to surf. But this trip was so much more.
Starting in Florence, Italy, we plunged into a more than 20-hour journey by ferry and automobile to Sicily in southern Italy. The search for waves, and to experience authentic Italian culture brought us to Syracuse, a historic city in Sicily that was the largest city in the ancient world — even bigger than Athens and Corinth (names that all triggered buried history classes from our memory).
It was a lot of science, instinct and experience to find the right spot for the fickle windswell. We found in our journey with Italian friends that surfing in Italy is serious devotion. In the absence of abundance easy waves, the heart is filled with romantic longing. You wait, obsessed with meteorology, the moon cycle of tides, the methodical calculation of how the energy will crest and break into the coastline’s topography. You have to be ready to drop everything and go when the swell's coming. There's more poor-fair days of surfing than good-epic days, which makes you especially grateful for those special days.
We got in a few fun days and in between sessions the scenery never disappointed. We wandered the cobblestone streets in Sicily on foot and slowed down driving through the Viale dei Cipressi in Tuscany; the three-mile drive between 2,000 tall magnificent trees neatly lined up one after another that felt like a fairytale carriage approaching your castle. We wanted to try every local Italian food: wine in Bolgheri, Tuscany, the arancini in Sicily, gelato by the ocean, and the citrus in bloom.
Coming from California where you don't find any buildings older than the 1700s, being surrounded by Italy's ancient churches and artisan traditions — hello, wine making that's the elixer of the gods — made you think longer about the wealth of culture and knowledge the country holds. And yet isn't it funny that surfing is where we met in the middle.
In all of Italy’s centuries of maritime history, the idea of riding upon waves for recreation — and what we know as modern surfing— didn’t arrive to the country until the 1970s. The pioneering surfers of Italy were not that different from the pioneering surfers in other parts of the globe. They were sailors, swimmers, paddlers and waterman addicted to the ride, creating wave craft in their own cultural style, all for the pure love of it.
"Our surf culture is very interesting because it’s quite young and vibrant," explains Luca Merli, the director of "Seea in Italy" film and one of our guides on the trip. "Italians are marine people, the Mediterranean has been the cradle of civilization. We love our sea Our boot shaped country is surrounded by water which as been used since the Romans for trade, for wars, for fun and for living... and now surfing is booming on our coasts like California in the '60s. We're very passionate surfers and I wanted to celebrate this small history."
We'll raise our wine glasses filled with Italian vino to that.
Keep scrolling for a closer look at some of the picturesque location in the "Seea in Italy" film and be inspired to shop the Seea suits that they wore
KEEP TRAVELING THROUGH ITALY: