Amalfi Coast & More

A balcony between cobalt blue sea and the Lattari mountains, with coves, beaches and terraces with vineyards, citrus and olive groves.

Deemed an outstanding example of a Mediterranean landscape by Unesco, the Amalfi Coast is one of Italy’s most memorable destinations. The Amalfi Coast seems to be one grand balcony suspended between a sea of cobalt blue and the feet of the Lattari Mountains, in a long stretch of hollows and promontories, coves, cultivated terraces, vineyards, and citrus and olive groves. Set in a unique environment, it is an exemplar of a Mediterranean landscape and of enormous cultural and natural value due to its topographical characteristics, as well as its historical evolution. For this, it is protected by UNESCO.

The entire area extends over 11,231 hectares between the Gulf of Naples and the Gulf of Salerno, comprising 16 splendid villages within the Province of Salerno: Amalfi, Atrani, Cava de’ Tirreni, Cetara, Conca dei Marini, Furore, Maiori, Minori, Positano, Praiano, Raito, Ravello, Sant’Egidio del Monte Albino, Scala, Tramonti, and Vietri sul Mare. These are destinations famous all over the world for their beauty and their inhabitants’ warm hospitality. The other well-known tourist destinations like Sorrento, Ischia, Capri, Cilento National Park, Naples and the archaeological excavations of Pompeii and Herculaneum are easy to reach.

The cities and countryside towns of the Amalfi Coast are different one from the other, each with its own traditions and peculiarities that make them unique. Its string of fabled towns read like a Hollywood cast list. There’s jet-set favourite Positano, a pastel-coloured cascade of chic boutiques, spritz-sipping pin-ups and sun-kissed sunbathers. Further east, ancient Amalfi lures with its Arabic-Norman cathedral, while mountaintop Ravello stirs hearts with its cultured villas and Wagnerian connection. To the west lies Amalfi Coast gateway Sorrento, a handsome clifftop resort that has miraculously survived the onslaught of package tourism.

The Amalfi Coast remains an intriguing mix of sophistication and simplicity. A mere seagull’s spit from the super yachts, chauffeur-driven Mercedes-Benz and five-star hotels, another more rural reality exists. Around precariously stacked hill villages, farmers still cultivate small plots of steeply terraced land, and their wives make cheese; down on the coast, tiny fishing communities make a living from the sea. The link between these worlds is Strada Statale 163 – the ‘road of 1,000 bends’ – commissioned by King Ferdinand II of Naples and completed in 1852. It hugs cliffs and deep gorges for 40km, slicing through lemon groves and whitewashed villages, rising and dipping above the shimmering sea.

AMALFI

According to legend, Hercules fell in love with a captivating nymph whose name was Amalfi, who died prematurely and broke his heart. The demi-god searched and searched for a burial place worthy of her, and found it in what eventually became the town of Amalfi. As one of his twelve labors, Hercules stole a tree from the Garden of the Hesperides and planted it on the site, to commemorate her final resting place. It was a fruit tree that bore what are today called Amalfi lemons. Amalfi is one of the beautiful small towns on the scenic Amalfi Coast, famous for jaw-dropping views and a panoramic drive. As the name suggests, Amalfi is the town that gives the name to the area, however it is not just a starting point to visit the coast. Amalfi town is an historical, beautiful town well worth a visit itself. It is the largest of the towns on this part of coast, and has several attractions to admire over and above the general setting. Start exploring with a stroll along the attractive streets, lined with whitewashed houses that often contain restaurants and boutiques.

POSITANO AND SURROUNDINGS

The sight of Positano from a distance is breathtaking: colour is everywhere, the houses built up from the waterside, accessible to one another via an endless array of steep stairs, boast pale sorbet colours. Among the most beautiful centres in Amalfi Coast, Positano is a place where to live the holiday you have always dreamt of: sun, sea, unpolluted nature, delicious cooking and relaxation. Many are the beaches of Positano: the central one is the Spiaggia Grande, followed by Fornillo, both of them reachable on foot. The other beaches of Positano such as La Porta, San Pietro, Laurito and Arienzo can be reached mainly by sea. Staying in Positano also makes moving towards the most famous tourist resorts in Campania easy. In fact, it is posiible to reach easily the centres of Amalfi Coast, like  Amalfi and Ravello, famous all over the world for their beauty and their inhabitants’ warm hospitality, and other well-known tourist destinations like Sorrento  and Sorrento Coast, Naples and the archaeological excavations of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

SORRENTO COAST

The Sorrentine Peninsula was first put on the map by the ancient Romans. Emperors and senators claimed the region for their own, crowning the golden, waterside cliffs of what was then called Surrentum with palatial villas. Modern resorts now stand where emperors once staked out vacation spots. Many come simply to soak up the sun (along with the odd trip to Capri or Pompeii), passing lazy days by hotel pools or parked on a sunbed at one of the colourful lidos on wooden jetties over the water. Reminders of the Caesars’ reigns, broken columns, capitals, and marble busts, lie scattered among the area’s orange trees and terraces. Sorrento goes as far back as the Samnites and the Etruscans, the bon vivants of the early ancient world, and for much of Sorrento’s existence it has remained focused, in fact, on pleasure. The Sorrentine Peninsula became a major stop on the elite’s Grand Tour itineraries beginning in the late 18th century, and by the mid-19th century, grand hotels and wedding-cake villas had sprung up to welcome the flow of wealthy visitors.

CAPRI ISLAND

Capri is perhaps the most glamorous of all Italian islands, a magnet for the rich and famous who are attracted by its dazzling waters, its famous Blue Grotto and designer-brand shopping streets. When considering glamorous destinations in Italy, it’s not very long before the island of Capri becomes part of the conversation. ​In a country full of locations coupling breathtaking scenery with elegance, Capri has just that extra little bit of swagger compared to its rivals in that regard. ​The higher echelons of society seldom reach greater heights than that of an emperor and Capri was once the home of the controversial Tiberius. Capri is home to both rural farming and fishing communities, most obviously reflected in the island’s well-known culinary traditions, based on simple, fresh ingredients from land and sea and overflowing with the big, bold, sunny flavours of southern Italy. If you want to catch the magic of Capri, you should stay more than few days and walk across the island. You’ll quickly leave the bustle behind you and understand why so many people don’t want to leave.

ISCHIA ISLAND

Ischia, the island of regeneration, energies, beauty and history is the largest of the three islands off the coast of Naples (Procida, Capri and Ischia).
Few places evoke the mythic legacy of the Mediterranean as powerfully as this tiny Tyrrhenian island. With its tangles of bougainvillaea cascading over parched rocks, lizards darting between slabs of volcanic tufa and cliffs rearing up over indigo waves, Ischia feels more like a place Odysseus might have visited than a typical Italian holiday destination. Just a quick boat ride away from Naples, Ischia is full of gorgeous beaches, quaint villages, a castle unlike any other, and a number of natural hot springs. Fourty kilometres of coastline offer ample opportunities for sun-soaked relaxation. Inland, mountainous terrain awaits those who enjoy climbing. This heaven seems a million miles away from the haranguing, energy charged streets of Naples and holds pleasures for the most intrepid or timid of travellers. With some of the oldest, and best thermal baths in the world, is the perfect place to experience southern Italy’s vast, untrammelled landscapes.

CILENTO COAST

The National Park of Cilento, Vallo di Diano and Alburni comprises most of the southern area of the Campania region. Located just a little further south of the Amalfi Coast, it is the second largest National Park in Italy and one of the most important ecosystems of the Italian peninsula. Chosen every year as a summer tourist destination by thousands of Italians and rich in unspoiled naturalistic beauties, millenary histories and archaeological sites, the Cilento Coast boasts of numerous awards relating to the quality of the waters with the highest honor conferred by FEE and Legambiente. Entirely viable through a road system that crosses every small seaside tourist destination of the Cilento National Park, the Cilento Coast can certainly be one of the ideas to consider for your next summer.  Breathtaking views from the hills covered with centuries-old cork oaks, trekking the mountains and cruising along the Cilento coast, mouth-watering regional cuisine and the special friendliness of the locals captivate visitors all year round.

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