Ferrara, loderò le tue vie piane/grandi come fiumane,/che conducono all’infinito chi va solo col suo pensiero ardente: I shall praise your flat...
The Amalfi Coast is a stretch along the southwest coast of Italy from Sorrento to Salerno. It’s considered some of the most scenic coastline in Italy and was named a UNESCO world heritage site in 1997 for the stunning scenery alone.
I first went to Italy in 1999, inspired only by photographs of the Amalfi Coast. Images of whitewashed villages tumbling down mountainsides to the sea and beautiful gardens shimmering in the sunshine were enough for me. I imagined staying in my very own Italian villa, perched on the hill, with sea views.
Let’s have a look at the main towns where you can base yourself along the Amalfi Coast.
I stayed in Sorrento as do thousands of other tourists, but for a first time visit it might be the perfect spot. From Sorrento you can easily take the train to Pompeii, the bus to Positano and the ferry to Capri. Nothing wrong with a bit of convenience. You’ll also find stunning views of Mt.Vesuvius from Sorrento.
Positano is everything you see in the postcards: beautiful, small, spectacular views, nice beach – and expensive. Still you only live once.
Ravello is considered one of the most romantic towns in southern Italy. Villa Rufolo is one of two villas which the town is famous for. Guests have included kings and popes.
See for yourself.
Amalfi is the largest town in this area and often one of the most congested. Still, it’s worth at least a day trip for its Romanesque Duomo and Cloister of Paradise. The oldest paper mill in Europe is also in Amalfi, as well as a small paper museum.
If you are in the area a day trip to Pompeii is a must. Besides the scenery along the Amalfi Coast, I went to Italy because I had dreamed of seeing Pompeii since I was small…it’s absolutely one of the most fascinating places I’ve ever been. In case you don’t know anything at all about Pompeii: on August 24, A.D. 79, Mt. Vesuvius erupted raining dust, stone, and molten lava. Pompeii was buried within two hours. If you’re interested in reading more about Pompeii, check out the excellent BBC site Pompeii: Portents of Disaster.
The best way to arrive at the Amalfi coast is by train from Naples or Salerno. You can also fly into any major airport in Italy and take the train to Naples from there, connecting via the Circumvesuviana to the small towns in between Naples and Sorrento. Or you can arrive by boat or ferry. For more information on the Amalfi Coast, read amalficoast.com and National Geographic article Road Trip: Amalfi Coast.