Amalfi Coast, Italy
Value for Money:
Personality Types that Like it Best
Did You Know … ?
- Tiberius in his last years presided over the Roman Empire from Capri accompanied by his heir Caligula.
- Richard Wagner used the Villa Rufolo in Ravello for the magic garden in the opera, “Parsifal.”
- The town of Amalfi in the 11th century was an independent republic, like Venice, ruled by doges.
- The 4,190-foot Mount Vesuvius erupted most recently in 1944.
- Positano was one of the settings for the movie, “The Talented Mr. Ripley.”
It’s all about scenery
All travelers need the time and place to relax and live life at a slow pace. The Amalfi Coast just south of Naples in Italy answers that need for anyone who has given it a try.
It rates tops with all personality types and here are some reasons: Italian food and wine, a deep blue sea, a dramatically beautiful coastline and cooperative warm sunny weather. Besides, the area has a history, which means that, aside from lovely beaches and ferries to the fabled isle of Capri, there are noteworthy sightseeing attractions in the area, not least the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum, which were smothered after Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D.
Aside from ogling the scenery, active visitors may sail the inviting blue waters for a day or charter a yacht for a week on the Tyrrhenian Sea. The Amalfi Coast, inland areas and nearby islands all offer scenic routes for cyclists. Except for the Sele plains, the paths are quite difficult, besides.
Nevertheless, the central attraction for prospective visitors is the scenery on the mainland’s Amalfi Coast and on Capri. Tourists come for jaw-dropping views of rocky winding coasts, made that much more appealing with colorful little villages tucked in against steep slopes at water’s edge and grand villas on terraces overlooking it all. Only the brave would rent a car to drive this coast.
The south-facing Amalfi Coast is a fairly confined area comprising about 20 villages. Notable among them are:
- Positano. Now one of Italy’s most-loved resorts, this fishing village has been tarted up with exclusive shopping and eateries, but the view of houses on a steep incline and the bay below is still free.
- Amalfi. It is beautiful, of course; that goes with the territory. But this is the place for history lovers because Amalfi was once a powerful maritime republic and has examples of monumental medieval architecture to prove it.
- Ravello. Set high above Amalfi, Ravello offers what some term the best views on the coast. It is noted for grand old villas positioned for the best panoramas and for its annual music festival.
Things to do for Venturers
- So, if you are brave, rent a car and do your sightseeing based on a self-drive itinerary along the coastal roads famous for hairpin turns.
- Get your exercise — and lots of it — on one of the Amalfi Coast’s challenging up-and-down routes for cyclists.
- Spend an hour or less walking up Mount Vesuvius and then walk around the edge of the crater. You can see multicolored lava layers and steam inside the crater plus a great view down the side of the mountain of old lava and debris from various eruptions.
- Charter a yacht and take to the sea (the Tyrrhenian, that is) for a few days.
- Take cooking classes in Praiano or Ravello.
- Trek for a few hours from Praiano along il Sentiero Degli Dei, or the Path of the Gods. There are dozens of trails which means trekkers at all skill levels have choices.
Things to do for Centrics
- Take a day trip to see what Vesuvius wrought in Pompeii and Herculaneum in 79 A.D. Sure, get a look at the famous erotic art found in damaged (but not obliterated) buildings.
- Take a ferry from Sorrento to the isle of Capri, and see the Blue Grotto and ruins of Roman villas. Also, if Sorrento is your base, you can take the hydrofoil to Capri, Amalfi and Positano.
- To appreciate the views at Positano, walk to and through the village, meaning up its steep seaside slope. Also, Positano has walking trails that follow the coastline — and a hydrofoil link to Capri.
- Go scuba diving. Rent gear at any of several shops on the coast.
- Get married on the Amalfi Coast. How romantic is that?
- Take a half-day guided sightseeing tour by boat along the Amalfi Coast. Or making that a full-day excursion.
Things to do for Authentics
- Devote some serious time to relaxing on a beach.
- At Praiano, see the Chiesa di San Luca Evangelista, said to contain relics of St. Luke.
- Drink limoncello, made from the lemons for which the area is well known.
- Come to Ravello for its music festival, which offers scheduled concerts from July through part of September.
- Seek out the views and gardens at Ravello. The Villa Cimbrone is famous for what some believe is the best Amalfi view of all. Also, Villa Rufolo, which was the basis for the magic garden in “Parsifal,” can be visited.
- Buy ceramics to bring home as gifts, or for your collections. Vietri sul Mare, near Amalfi, is a major ceramics center.
For more information, consult the Italian Government Tourist Board at www.italia.it and choose your language if necessary.