FPJ Communication & PR Manager
Translated by: Laura Dragotta
If you have a whole week to venture among the villages and the most beautiful beaches of Campania, then it's impossible to avoid a tour of the Amalfi Coast, which is the setting for a dream view. The stretch of the Campania coast that goes from Vietri to Positano, is definitely one of the most spectacular places in the world. Recognized a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997, overlooking the Gulf of Salerno, this strip of coast is dotted with breathtaking villages rich in history, culture, aromas and flavors.
Every season is perfect to discover the Amalfi Coast. In this resort you can admire magnificent beaches, enchanting landscapes and wonderful villages: that's why the stretch of coast between Sorrento, Positano and Vietri is so famous and admired all over the world.
The tourist pearl of Italy and the entire Mediterranean is definitely Sorrento. An elegant town with beautiful views, Sorrento is the main center of the Peninsula, where you can indulge in shopping in the markets of the old towns before sipping a granite and drinking a glass of limoncello.
Sorrento is an indescribable place, a place that can be diving into the waters of Marina Piccola beach, that can be an enchanted sunset with Naples and Ischia to stand on the horizon, such an excursion in the magical Bay of Ieranto, or a plate of spaghetti alla Nerano in a restaurant overlooking the sea. In short, an absolutely not-to-be missed stage.
Leaving behind Sorrento, and heading to other places on the coast you will meet the famous city of Positano. Walking up and down the stairs that outline the residential area you can indulge in souvenir markets, clothing shops and typical products. Those who are lucky enough to visit this charming town can live a real dream thanks to the atmosphere of the '60s, and then fill their eyes with amazement by going to the bottom of the daring descents to the sea, arriving to authentic corners of paradise such as Grotta La Porta, Spiaggia Grande or the enchanting beach of Fornillo.
Other Amalfi Coast wonderful beaches are those of Praiano. The beach of Marina di Praia, in particular, is frequented by tourists even late autumn, given the mild climate of the Coast. Praiano is also rich in nature trails where you can walk.
After few more kilometer you will reach the Amalfi Coast, the heart of the Amalfi Coast and the city from which this corner of paradise takes its name. This enchanted place hides many surprises, from hiking trails, to huffed and secret streets to reach some of the most beautiful places in the area, including Ravello, via an elevator that leads from Amalfi to the cemetery, one of the most panoramic and poetic in the world.
Heading towards Agerola, half an hour from Amalfi, you arrive at the starting point of the Path of the Gods, route with breathtaking views of the Coast and Capri. Before leaving you must stop at a deli in the village to buy focaccia and fior di latte, a typical product of the country to be enjoyed during the journey.
In this characteristic place is also held the Marketing, the world championship of dives from great heights, where the bravest are launched directly from a suspension bridge at 30 meters above the sea level on the Fjord. It is in this stretch of coast tat you can admire the wonderful villa of Sophia Loren, Villa Chandon, and the Hotel Santa Rosa, an ancient convent where in the 18th century was born almost by chance the Neapolitan sfogliatella. Conca dei Marini is the first of the magnificent villages that the visitor will meet. With Caprion the horizon, you can pass by this beach, famous for the prison meeting between Jackie Kennedy and lawyer Agnelli in the summer of '62, then head to Furore, a village of just 800 inhabitants that boasts not only the only Italian Fjord, which is so reminiscent of those of Norway and Northern Europe, but also a very small vineyard from where Bianco Fiorduva by Marisa Cuomo was born, this is one of the most prized wine in Italy.
Also not to be missed is the Emerald Grotto, accessible via a staircase or a comfortable lift. Between huge stalactites and stalagmites, the waters kept inside take on a unique emerald color. Crossing the Saracen towers and fairy-tale landscapes, you reach the center of Amalfi, ancient Maritime Republic. Once here you can range from a very wide range of activities including a visit to the Duomo, a visit to the paper museum, shopping in the exclusive shops of the center and treat yourself to a lemon treat before leaving for Strani, nice white hamlet perched on the rock, just 5 minutes walk from Amalfi.
There is in fact a brilliant pedestrian tunnel that connects the two centers and that makes Atrani the ideal destination to stay in the Coast, less noisy but equally fascinating, as well as close to its beating heart. Atrani, the second largest town in Italy, which perhaps because of its size has kept intact the authentic atmosphere of a fishing village, holds many small riches not to be missed, such as its churches starting from that of San Salvatore where the investiture of the Doge of the Republic of Amalfi took place, and then stop in the square for dinner. Here the colt is the "sarchiapone": a zucchini stuffed with mozzarella, minced meat and herbs, fried and cooked in tomato sauce. If you are in this area it is also a must to hike to the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Maddalena and especially to the Masaniello Cave, after a path of 500 steps. Only for the brave!
The bright yellow of the lemons with their typical elongated shape and intense scent, frames the geometries of flowers and hedges that illuminate one of the jewels of the Amalfi Coast: Ravello. A little paradise to live in all seasons, overlooking the blue sea that blends with the sky creating shades of blue in the different hours of the day.
Ravello is less famous than Amalfi, but not for this reason less frequented: among its cobblestone streets and elegant shops, lined by luxury hotels you can cross evocative locations from movies and corners of history never forgotten. Also dubbed the city of music is held in this place every year the Ravello Music Festival, hosted by the Auditorium Oscar Niemeyer, designed by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, that represents a perfect example of architecture that marries with the territory.
Ravello also enjoys one of the most spectacular views of the Amalfi Coast. Not to be missed is the visit to the Villa Cimbrone, from whose splendid terrace you can admire the breathtaking panorama. Another unmissable pearl for those who are in Ravello is the Cathedral, considered one of the oldest cathedrals in Italy. Its construction dates back to 1086 and after several renovations today shows, among the many masterpieces, inside the seventeenth-century chapel to the left of the presbytery, the blood vial of San Pantaleone that liquefies annually.
Its construction dates back to 1086 and after several renovations today shows, among the many masterpieces, inside the seventeenth-century chapel to the left of the presbytery, the blood vial of San Pantaleone that liquefies annually. Inside, there is also the Opera Museum with Roman cinerary urns, reliquaries of the early Christian Era and artifacts, as well as the Art Gallery of Medieval and Modern Art, with important paintings from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century. Another local symbol is Villa Rufolo. The splendid villa, with its exquisite architectural and aesthetic value, was Wagner's meditation retreat and was built by the ruffle family in the 13th century. The entrance tower boasts statues representing the seasons, the cloister is surrounded by columns in Moorish style and the main tower has a magical view of the sea. In addition there is the well, the viewpoint with a garden and views of the coast and the chapel, which during the year presents important art exhibitions. Here you can admire some wonderful gardens, considered among the most beautiful in Italy.
In the gardens of Ravello are the most beautiful of the Coast it is all thanks to the British. In fact, after the ancient Romans and the nobility fled from Amalfi after the defeat at the hands of Pisa, the English lords arrived for the Grand Tour bringing with them a great passion for gardening and in particular for roses. It is Ernest William Beckett who owes the splendor of Villa Cimbrone and it is primarily thanks to him that the farmers of Ravello, to revive the huge park then in decline, have become skilled gardeners. Their most beautiful creations can also be admired by stopping on the village belvedere, and in several gardens of private facilities, such as that of the Belmond Hotel Caruso, that has left intact the original plant of the flowery avenue where the nobles arrived from England love to spend the afternoons walking. In Ravello, the Museum of Coral is also interesting in honor of the precious goods typical of the area. It tells the strategic importance of the product, in past times.
Ravello, a microworld that time does not scratch and that, like all the centers of the area, must be lived and tasted, as well as visited.
The next towns is Maiori, from where you can admire from above the enchantment of the mountain that literally plunges into the sea.
Today a seaside resort, Maiori was the main port of the Amalfi Republic. After a walk along the seafront, stop by the lemon-colored church that houses a statue of the Virgin Mary, which according to legend arrived here floating on the water.
Not far away is Cetara, a fishing village famous for the delicious breakfast of anchovies, a delicacy of ancient traditions with which to stuff a juicy dish of spaghetti.
Leaving behind the majolica dome of the Collegiata di Santa Maria a Mare, and walking towards via Vene, take the Path of Lemons that connects Maiori with nearby Minori. Walking immersed in the scent through lush lemon terraces, passing through the picturesque village of Torre, you reach Minori. Another charming destination is the towns of Minori, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, whose uniqueness is absolutely undeniable. Its beauty has been known since ancient times, so much so that the Villa Romana Marittima was the favorite place of the Roman imperial aristocracy and still today you can see the remains of the splendid patrician residence dating back to the first century AD. Its natural landscapes and the sea are a must for those who stay there and to give further prestige to the area are the gastronomic specialties and high pastry, with a leading name known all over the world and loved by Vips for its creative flair and for the use of local products: Sal De Riso. Last but not least of the towns to visit is Vietri sul Mare, which welcomes the famous beach of the Two Brothers and that entertains its visitors with the numerous ceramic shops where to hoard memories of an extraordinary location.
Known since the Middle Ages for the splendid hand-made collared ceramics, Vietri has as its protagonist the ceramics in all its forms, not only of the artisan workshops, but also in the country itself, where it gives a joyful touch to walls of the houses and to the dome of the cathedral.
All over the world the Amalfi Coast is synonymous with nature, luxury hotels, villas jutting out towards the sea. Driving along the 163 is both an emotion that lasts along all its tortuous kilometres and an adventure that puts a strain on the ability of even the most experienced drivers. At the end of the route, however, you always live the most beautiful emotion: a show of colours, nature and architecture without equal. But there is also a Coast that flows slowly, and it is that of the paths that from one hill to another connect the various countries. Going into the green of the lemon gardens and the lush Mediterranean maquis, walking the long staircases stretched between the sea and sky and encountering the many medieval artifact, are just some of the wonders that you can discover during these walks we can therefore say that the Amalfi Coast is real joy for the eyes and the spirit.