The Amalfi Coast is a stretch of coastline in the south Italy’s Sorrentine Peninsula, in the Campania region. The area stretches from Salerno to Positano and It is included in UNESCO’s world heritage sites. Stunning views of steep mountain cliffs, rocky seashore, multicolored towns and lush forests are breathtaking. This peaceful and picturesque setting, with a beautiful mild climate and wonderfully diverse nature is a favorite vacation destination for tourists and celebrities.
Coastal villages rise up from the edge of the sea and they seem as if they were carved out of the rock, varnished with a splash of colors and topped with an abundant forests. All the buildings are surrounded by terraced vineyards and gardens. Lemons, olives, grapes and flowers fill the air with divine scent. Narrow streets are covered with pebbles and of course, there are stairs; endless stairs.
Vietri sul Mare
Vietri is “the gates of Amalfi”. It is a starting point of journey to Amalfi coast. Vietri sul Mare’s sunlit turquoise bay and splendid views of the Tyrrhenian Sea are just a preview before Amalfi coast exploration. Also, Vietri is the origin of dishes, flowerpots, vases and tiles found throughout the Amalfi area. There are a lots of souvenir shops, where visitors can purchase fine glassware and diningware. They offer master classes on painting ceramics as well.
Between 839 and around 1200 A.D. Amalfi was the capital of the maritime republic, known as the Duchy of Amalfi and it was an important trading power in the Mediterranean. Amalfi is very popular and most visited town on a coast, so it’s very expensive. On season, Amalfi’s broadwalk is full of prosperous international bohemians. Amalfi’s streets are a labyrinth of narrow stairways and grand villas with gardens. Locals cherish the ancient craft traditions: Amalfi brocade, ceramics and handmade paper are well known abroad. So there are a lots of small souvenir shops. Also, Amalfi Coast is famous for Limoncello liqueur, which is made from the local variety of lemons: big, juicy and very aromatic. There is also ‘’Lemon Festival’’ which takes place in the summer across the region. In addition to the mind-blowing views , it’s worth taking time to explore the outstanding Duomo. It is a 9th century cathedral named in honor of the Apostle St. Andrew, whose crypt is in there. Cathedral itself is a mix of different architectural styles. Mainly its Arab-Norman Romanesque style, but it has been remodeled several times, adding Romanesque, Byzantine, Gothic and Baroque elements.
Driving itself on a road through these little towns is an adventure. There are the cliffs on one side, and wonderfully beautiful Tyrranean Sea on another. The road goes through dozens of mountain tunnels and gets narrow at places. There are plenty of places to stop by to enjoy the amazing views of the mountains and the sea. Rural villages are clinging to the rocks and their taverns offer delicious seafood and local wine.
Conca dei Marini
On the road from Amalfi on the western part of the coast is one of the main gem of these places- Grotta dello Smeraldo- Emerald grotto. It is a cave, that is partially filled with seawater. Reflected sunlight entering the cavern through the opening, gives the water its unique emerald glow. Visitors can take an elevator, which goes down to cave level, where they’ll board boats to the grotto. Marvelous glow of the water will never be forgotten.
Ravello is a hilltop town above the Amalfi coast. This is the place,where German composer R. Wagner is known to come for his inspiration. ‘’The city of music’’ is an epithet of Ravello, because every summer, the International Music Festival is held in there. In addition to concerts in the open air or Oscar Niemeyer’s music hall, local famous villas are a must see.
Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone
Villa Rufolo is a 13th century building. An Italian renaissance period author Boccaccio, wrote a story about the villa in his Decameron. Villa Cimbrone is a 11th century building. Its terraces and gardens offer mesmerising view of the Mediterranean Sea and the Amalfi coast. Both villas are the business card of Ravello and both of them are open to public.
The miniature town of Positano is westernmost point of the Amalfi Coast . It is located in a valley between the mountains and the sea. With colorful houses among the orange and olive trees, it is one of the most picturesque towns in the world. The main attraction of Positano is Church of the Holy Virgin Mary Assunta, with 13th century Byzantine icon of a Black Madonna. Also, a dome of the church is made of multicolored Majolica tiles, which shine from the reflecting rays of the sun.
While exploring the Amalfi coast, Amalfi, Ravello and Positano are the must see towns. However, tiny towns like: Praiano, Furore, Atrani and Minori are also worth stopping by.
A small cozy town for a relaxing spa vacation. With numerous paths, stairs and scenic views. Also, local taverns offer delicacies of Amalfi cuisine: fish baked in salt, salad with mozzarella, tomato and basil, and for dessert – lemon cream and figs with nuts and chocolate. An architecture and art lovers will be fascinated with the ancient churches.
A tiny village with olive trees, vineyards, water mills and stairs leading down to the rocky coast of the sea. A deep cleft forms a cozy marina with a small beach and colorful houses, nesting on the cliffs. Between the rocks, at almost 100 feet high is a stone bridge. It serves as platform for the annual championship in high diving; diving from a height.
Atrani is located in just 10-15 minutes walk from beautiful Amalfi trail. With the rocks houses, narrow streets, courtyards with arches, clean sea and beaches, Atrani often becomes a backdrop of movies and commercials. The main square is surrounded by old houses, with a spectacular sea view.
Minori is one of the oldest villages of the coast. It deserves at least a brief stop for lunch and to enjoy the beauty of the sea. The narrow streets are surrounded by lemon and orange trees. In the heart of Minori rises a 12th century Basilica of Saint Trofimena. In August, Minori hosts the jazz festival, and in September, classical music concerts.