Amalfi Coast: "The Divine"
Discover The Most Dizzying Coast In The World
Privileged destination of tourists from around the world, regarded by Unesco as an outstanding example of a Mediterranean landscape, the Amalfi Coast is properly nicknamed “the Divine”. This unique coastline has the typical characteristics of a cultural landscape. Dramatic mountains that plunge into a sea and colorful fishing villages perched on the coast, domes covered of bright tiles and pristine bays, the night show of the villages that light up like little nativity scenes on the water. Everything here is out of the ordinary.
Jackie Kennedy, Ava Gardner, Gore Vidal and the Queen of Holland: from the 60s onwards, the jet set he met on the Amalfi Coast. We are in the homeland of Positano fashion style and Capri tailored sandals, all made by hand. The place of origin of the fragrant Amalfi lemons, the canned tuna from Cetara, the traditional tiles from Vietri, the mozzarella cheese from Agerola, the Gragnano pasta and the pizza by the meter. The home of the famous Mediterranean diet, a culinary tradition deemed to be heritage of humanity.
From hiking to shopping, the Amalfi Coast has a lot to offer. Beautiful villages rich of history, full of churches and characteristic streets, picturesque stairs and colored houses. Breathtaking mountains crossed by well-marked trails with climbing walls overlooking the sea and paths for walking or mountain biking. A delicious seafood cuisine, dozens of craft products to be bought and a nature so beautiful it takes your breath away. If possible come out of season, when tourism does not crowd this corner of paradise.
In the south of the Sorrento peninsula, the Amalfi Coast overlooks the Gulf of Salerno. It has a rugged look with sheer cliffs and fjords. The slopes of the Lattari Mountains, the backbone of the peninsula, dramatically plunge into the sea. The tip of the peninsula is called Punta Campanella. In front of it, divided from the mainland by the strait of Bocca Piccola, is the island of Capri.
The Amalfi Coast is crossed by a single road, which runs snaking sheer to the sea: the legendary SS 163, carved into the rock, one of the most spectacular (and dizzying) roads in the world. Very busy in high season. Alternatively there are the buses Sita from Naples, Sorrento and Salerno. In summer there are ferries and hydrofoils from Salerno. Capri hydrofoils leave from Sorrento and Naples.
The coast of Amalfi has an incredible cultural richness. From north to south the pearls that make this land unique are the villages of Positano, Praiano, Amalfi, Ravello, Atrani, Minori, Maiori, Cetara and Vietri sul Mare. Each village is unmistakable, with its own traditions . Amalfi, the richest in history, Ravello, the village of music, and Positano, the verticale village, just to name a few.
Dramatic, spectacular, dizzying: here is the nature of the Amalfi Coast. Mountains covered with forests, Mediterranean maquis, lemon groves,marine reserves and caves, fjords, coves and islands. Two natural parks protect the area, the Lattari Mountains Regional Park and the Marine Reserve of Punta Campanella. Do not miss the Path of the Gods, one of the most beautiful tracks in the world.
Top 5 Things To Do in The Amalfi Coast
Geographically and historically the village of Amalfi is the heart of this coast. It was founded by the Romans and became the oldest Italian Maritime Republic. Visit the splendid Amalfi Cathedral in Arab-Sicilian style dedicated to St. Andrew, patron of the city. Have a look at the cloister and enjoy the panorama from the main entrance. Explore the district of Vagliendola, one of the most characteristic. Here, in a former paper mill, is the Museum of Paper (the paper produced in Amalfi was indeed extraordinary valuable). Discover the Arsenal of the Republic, the shipyard of the ancient Maritime Republic. Do not miss a lemonade made with the fragrant lemons of Amalfi.
Positano is the pearl of the Amalfi Coast. Nestled in the mountain and overlooking a clear blue sea, it is a vertical city, a world made of stairs. The village is world famous from the ’60s, when the international jet set come here to show up and launched the’ Positano Style ‘. The alleys, gardens, beaches, the mild climate almost tropical, a delicious fish cuisine: Positano is true paradise. Go shopping, visit the Church of Santa Maria Assunta with its splendid majolica dome, the Saracen watchtowers from medieval times and the small hamlets of Nocelle and Montepertuso. Enjoy the beaches Spiaggia Grande and Spiaggia del Fornillo, connected by the Trail of Lovers (Sentiero degli Innamorati).
Perched 350 meters up the mountain, Ravello overlooks the Amalfi Coast and offers stunning views of the Gulf of Salerno. Here you can breathe deeply the perfumed air of this ravishing destination. Ravello is known as the village of culture and music. It has enchanted artists of all time, from Boccaccio to Turner, and is a destination for intellectuals. Visit the medieval streets, the central square with the Cathedral and the amazing villas. Villa Rufolo, in whose beautiful gardens overlooking the sea is held the Music Festival of Ravello dedicated to Richard Wagner, every year from July to September. Do not miss Villa Cimbrone, with its glorious garden of flowers, statues and unforgettable views.
Cetara & Vietri sul Mare
Cetara means ‘tuna-fishing nets’ and refers to the main activity of this beautiful fishing village where everything revolves around fishing vessels rhythms. The village’s landmark is the mighty Vicereale watchtower dating back to the XVI century. Visit the churches of St. Francis and St. Peter and taste the typical Cetara dish: spaghetti pasta with anchovy sauce. Not far from Cetara, Vietri sul Mare is the undisputed capital of the traditional artistic ceramic of the Amalfi Coast. Admire the wonderful majolica dome of St. John the Baptist church and the many tiles decorating the walls of the village. Do not miss the ceramic workshops: each of these has its own laboratory, ideas, draws and colors.
Built on a tuff terrace overlooking the Gulf of Naples, Sorrento is the gateaway of the Amalfi Coast. A very lively city with a charming historic center, made up of gardens and citrus groves, beaches, shops and restaurants. Do not miss the Vallone dei Mulini (Valley of the Mills), a deep cleft in the rock with the ruins of the old mill covered with vegetation. And then the Correale Museum dedicated to the minor arts, the cloister of the Church of San Francesco and the Baroque Basilica of St. Anthony, the patron saint of the city. In Piazza Tasso admire the view to the north on the tuff canyon. Explore the fishing village Marina Grande and Marina Piccola, the port of Sorrento.
Everyone knows the legendary ‘Piazzetta’ (Piazza Umberto I), the meeting point of the international jet set in Capri. Close to it is the famous Via Camerelle, the shopping street where to buy a pair of custom sandals. The ravishing village of Anacapri, the island’s largest, is less known. Visit the Church of San Michele Arcangelo with its magnificent majolica floor depicting the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise. Admire the collection of the Casa Rossa, which exhibits paintings with a single subject: the island. Do not miss the ruins of Villa Jovis, the villa dedicated to Jupiter by the Roman Emperor Tiberius, one of the best preserved examples of Roman architecture in the Mediterranean.
Amalfi Coast Beaches
Small paradisiacal creeks, often pebbly coves at the base of steep cliffs: here is the typical beaches of the Amalfi Coast. The most famous beaches are the one of Marina Grande in Amalfi, crowded with people and boats, Marina Grande in Positano and Marina di Vietri in Vietri sul Mare, one of the few sandy beaches on the coast. Among the most beautiful beaches there are the beach of Furore nestled in a fjord, the beach of Cauco in Erchie surrounded by spectacular rocky cliffs, and the white sandy beach of Cavallomorto in Maiori perfect for snorkeling (the last two are reachable only by sea). And yet the beaches of Gavitella in Praiano, of Duoglio in Amalfi and Castiglione in Ravello.
Lattari Mountains Regional Park
Crossed by dozens of breathtaking trails, the Lattari Mountains are the backbone of the Sorrento Peninsula. They overlook two seas: to the south the dramatic cliffs of the Amalfi Coast and the Gulf of Salerno, to the north the plateau of the Gulf of Naples. The Path of the Gods (Sentiero degli Dei, 10 km) that crosses the peninsula is considered one of the most beautiful trekking routes in the world. Enjoy it in spring, when the air smells of broom. And yet the path of Punta Campanella up to Ieranto bay, the paths of Mount Faito (also accessible by cable car from Castellammare di Stabia) and the path Molare. If you like a long walk go for the Vallone delle Ferriere and the Valle dei Mulini.
Emerald Grotto & Blue Grotto
Located in the bay of Conca dei Marini, the Emerald Grotto owes its name to the reflections that the sea takes in this spectacular dome. The cave is covered with stalactites and stalagmites, which in some sections are joined to form mighty tall columns of more than 10 meters. The cave is accessible both by sea and by the SS 163 road, where a lift descends to the dome (3 km from Praiano). Even more famous is the Blue Grotto in Capri, already used by the Romans as a nymphaeum. Here you must enter a cavity partially submerged by the sea, lying on the boats of the boatmen experts, and you will come out in the spectacular Duomo Azzurro, the most stunning room of the cave.
Li Galli Archipelago
In the Odyssey Homer tells that on this tiny archipelago between Capri and Positano, called Li Galli or Le Sirenuse, the sirens sang to mislead sailors. Only Ulysses managed to escape their charm by being tied to the mast of the ship by the sorceress Circe. Today this archipelago consisting of three islands – Gallo Lungo, La Rotonda and La Castelluccia – is a protected marine area in private hands. It can be reached by boat, but you can not land without invitation. Rudolf Nureyev, the former owner, Greta Garbo, Ingrid Bergman, Sophia Loren and Jacqueline Kennedy are just some of the celebrities who have been guests here. With no invitation you can still enjoy the unforgettable view of Positano and Capri.
Marine Reserve of Punta Campanella
Punta Campanella is the extreme offshoot of the Sorrento peninsula. In 1997 more than 1500 hectares of sea and 40 km of coastline have been declared Marine Reserve. Walking is the only way to reach the head, through a journey of about an hour on the northern slope of Promontorium Minervae (along the way you will find the pebble beach of Cala Mitigliano). From the head, the point where the gulfs of Salerno and Naples join together and, beyond the strait of Bocca Piccola, the beautiful profile of Capri island. There is also the path of Punta Campanella with the ravishing beach of Ieranto bay. Among the most popular activities there are scuba diving and rock climbing (on stunning cliffs above the sea).
Once part of the Sorrento peninsula, today the blue island of Capri lies like a siren in the Gulf of Naples. Visit the famous Faraglioni and pass with the boat under the natural arch of the second stack. Follow a boatman in the Blue Grotto and enjoy the beaches of Marina Grande, the largest of the island in the port area, and Marina Piccola, on the opposite side. In Anacapri take the chairlift to the top of Mount Solaro, the highest of Capri (589 meters) and enjoy the breathtaking view from here. Walk the path of Migliera to the Belvedere del Tuono (Thunder Belvedere), the most impressive of the island. For a seaside sunset reach Punta Carena and its imposing lighthouse, the largest in Italy after the one in Genoa.