Fusing Culture with Nature
A permanent fixture on the destination wish list of thousands of honeymooners, Italy’s picturesque Amalfi coast can also provide enough intrigue, excitement, and magic to create the ideal family or group getaways. This ability is due to the region’s veritable fusion of history, culture, nature and class.
Here, the coastline overlooking the Gulf of Salerno is brimming with bountiful terraced gardens, collections of world famous art and immaculate avenues and alleyways. Villages cling to the jutting cliff sides as tenaciously as the flora. Endless groves of lemon trees fill the salty air with their sweetly citrus scent, and countless festivals lend a carnival atmosphere to the endless charm already emanating.
Iconic Italian Imagery
Often painted, photographed or described in poetry and prose, the Amalfi Coast is home to such celebrated hamlets as Naples, Positano, Sorrento, Pompeii and Capri. These villages have one thing in common: pastel-hued homes grasping for purchase on sheer cliffs spotted with colorful vegetation. Connecting each of these alluring towns is a winding, scenic road that is as exhilarating to drive as it is memorable.
Visitors to the Amalfi Coast can relax and take in this Italian icon from the road or from a chartered boat in the fabled Mediterranean. Visitors also enjoy sampling some of the most famed food in the world and strolling along stunning, pebbled beaches or into hidden grottoes.
Small in size but large in impact, the entirety of Positano can be traversed on foot multiple times per day. However, those wishing to attempt this feat had better be in great shape since this unforgettable community was constructed on the literal side of a mountain and seems to naturally flow into the sea.
Virtually no one is immune to the magic of Positano. Simply stand out on the pebbled beach or on one of the hundreds of balconies located throughout the city. As you gaze out to the impossibly azure waters of the Mediterranean, you will understand immediately why Neptune chose to make his home here.
- Major Attraction: The Path of the Gods hiking trail is the most sure fire way (short of ambrosia), to look at the world as a deity must. Difficult but infinitely rewarding, this trail can be tackled alone or with the assistance of a guided tour. Francesco Carpegna offers one such tour, where a history lesson that is full of local charm is part of the package. Meet farmers on the way to market, and pass vineyards, olive groves, natural caves and ancient stone hovels.
Known as the “City of Music,” Ravello is also home to the stunning, world-famous Villa Rufolo, as well as the equally renowned cathedral, the Duomo, and the Ravello music festival. Depending on what season you visit Ravello during, you are likely to find burgeoning tomato vines, delectable figs and an assortment of vibrantly colored peppers. You can also discover why Gore Vidal once said that the view from the belvedere of Villa Cimbrone was the most beautiful he had seen in all of his travels. Maybe this is why Ravello was also a favorite destination for Virginia Woolf and D.H. Lawrence.
- Major Attraction: Other than the obligatory villas, Ravello also houses the can’t-miss vineyard of Cantina Episcopio. Founded in 1860, this vineyard is as award-winning as it is breathtaking.
The town which gave the coastal region its name is also one of the largest spots on the coastline. As such, it is speckled with all the charming little boutiques tourists love to visit. A one-time republic, this historic maritime power can provide all the ancient relics the history buff in your party could ever hope to see. The hamlet still manages to pull off the winding alleyways and postcard perfect beaches this part of the Italian coastline is known for.
- Major Attraction: There is always the Valley of the Mills, but try to time your visit during the Regatta of Ancient Maritime Republics. This event is part rowing race, part parade of historical ships, and totally can’t-miss.
Exciting Day Trips
The site of one of the history’s most violent volcanic eruptions is also home to one of the most well-preserved archaeological sites on earth. Nearly 2000 years ago, Mount Vesuvius erupted, burying the city under a layer of lava and ash. The result is a spectacularly intact ancient city that feels like a time warp to a bygone era.
- Capri and Anacapri:
View from a luxurious terrace on the island of Capri, Italy
Known for the exquisitely beautiful Blue Grotto, Capri is the island famously known for being the place where Roman Emperor Tiberius built such marvelous villas that he did not want to return to Rome. Spend just a few hours here, and you won’t want to leave either.
Other Reasons to Visit the Amalfi Coast
- The Strada Statale 163 is the road connecting all of the towns along the Amalfi Coast. Also known as the Road of 1,000 Bends, this scenic highway carries you along the cliff’s edge, through the many olive and lemon orchards, vineyards and seaside hamlets. Throughout the drive, the majestic Aegean is nearly constantly in view. This is one of the absolute best ways to see it all from the air-conditioned comfort of your vehicle.
- This ocean was made for boating. Luxury vessels abound, as many of the most spectacular views can only be had from the sea.
- Authentic, farm-to-table Italian food will delight your palate and leave you wanting more. Pasta, seafood and homegrown fruits and vegetables are prepared by the people who invented culinary decadence. Speaking of, here are some of the best of the best:
- Max: Boasting a truly comprehensive wine cellar and a chef whose bolognese is unmatched by any other in the country, this intimate restaurant located in Positano is a real gem.
- Santa Croce: This quaint restaurant is the epitome of farm-to-table fare. In addition to growing all of the vegetables and making all of the cheeses, the proteins on the menu, including rabbit, chicken, and lamb, are all raised on the family farm. A spectacular view rounds out this fabulous dining experience.
Living in Luxury
When traveling to such a breathtaking corner of the world, why settle for a run-of-the-mill hotel or corporate resort? Savvy travelers know that the only way to maximize the regenerative powers of this storied coast is to book exclusive accommodations, and it simply doesn’t get more unique or luxurious than Villa Marina.
This 12-bedroom architectural marvel is capable of sleeping 24 guests, offering mind-blowing panoramic views, hand-painted vaulted ceilings, ceramic tile and fabulous archways throughout. Guests will also enjoy a personal chef, cooking lessons, boating tours of the Seine and local museum passes.
Any villa booked with Time & Place comes with a complimentary luxury vacation concierge who oversees all the details of your stay. From transportation to dining reservations to excursion booking, the concierge ensures that you spend every moment of your vacation relaxing instead of worrying about the details. Just click here to get started planning your idyllic Amalfi Coast vacation.