Italy is awesome!
I just wanted to say thanks again for all your efforts in arranging our trip. Italy is awesome! We had a great time, a little rain, but all in all, it was amazing. Even my young people on the trip fell in love with Montepulciano and Volterra. If we get the opportunity to go again, I will...
Shana Estabrooks (Sharpsburg, GA)
Customized Vacation, April 2012
The Amalfi Coast – A Virtual Italy Tour
The Amalfi Coast The Amalfi Coast (or Costiera Amalfitana in Italian) surely flaunts Europe’s most beautiful coastline. With sheer cliffs that give way to a crystal blue sea, beautiful villas nestled into the rocks, and miles of stunning beaches, the Amalfi Coastline has been a major tourist destination for centuries. Even if you don’t want to stay overnight in one of its picturesque seaside towns, just taking a drive along the hair-pin curves of the Amalfi coast road, will take your breath away. It’s not just the beauty of the scenery but the height of the cliffs as well! This thrilling coastal drive is sure to jump start your heart. Coastal accommodation fills up in summer, so come prepared to share this idyllic slice of coast, but if you decide to come slightly off-season you won’t regret having a piece of paradise all to yourself. If you’re a nature-buff then spring and fall are the best times to come. Take time out toexplored any of the several trails that climb into the exquisite Lattari Mountains. While you’re there be sure to try the limoncello, a liquor made from the hundreds of large lemons that dot the terraces in the winter. Amalfi, the Town Stuck in the center of a cleft in the cliffs, Amalfi is the largest town on this section of the coast. The beach town has an interesting history that dates back to the Byzantine era when it was an independent city-state that boasted not a little bit of naval power. The city had merchants established all over the ports of the Mediterranean and the Tavoliere Amalfitana, or maritime laws—that can be seen in the Museo Civico—governed the republic as well as the rest of the Mediterranean until 1570. In 1131 Amalfi was vanquished by the Normans, then in 1343 it was destroyed by an earthquake, reducing the maritime republic to little more than a fishing village. It’s rediscovery came again in Edwardian times when it was a luxury winter retreat for the English upper classes. The main Piazza del Duomo spills onto the beach along which you can walk and shop at the stalls or sit for a drink at a café. The old Arsenale is a bit farther along the waterfront and is a blatant relic of Amalfi’s early naval power. Back in town, dominating the piazza is the Duomo at the top of a steep stairway. Its tiered and almost gaudy facade is topped by a glazed tiled cupola that shines brilliantly on those sunny Italian days. The bronze doors date from 1066 and were brought here from Constantinople. The inside cloister, or Chiostro del Paradiso, is the Duomo’s most appealing feature. It’s elegant arches have an almost Arabic feel and can remind you of how connected Amalfi once was to the rest of the Mediterranean. Next door is a museum that has an ancient basilica and an underground crypt where the headless remains of St Andrew lie under the altar. Climb up through the main street Via Genova until the town peters out. The Museo delle Carte is on your right in an old paper mill built in 1350. Peek into the high-quality paper industry that was once based in Amalfi. If you continue farther along, the road becomes a mountain path where the ruins of the old paper mill that line the shady path look like a fairy tale. Atrani and Ravello Quieter Atrani is accessible from Amalfi by a path that cuts up through the town and then back down again on the other side of the ridge. The main church also boasts doors from Constantinople, and the center of town, Piazza Umberto, is a good place to have a drink and watch the locals as they go about their day. Atrani has a small sandy beach for swimming in the summer and for parking fishing boats the rest of the year. Ravello, on the other hand, can be reached by the bus that leaves from Amalfi every half hour. The bus will take you higher and further inland for the best views of the coast. Ravello is a small, picturesque town that has been called home by many famous artists, including Wagner, D.H. Lawrence, and more recently, Gore Vidal. The peaceful and gorgeous inspiration of this place seeps everywhere. The Piazza del Duomo serves the important function of being the center of town. The Duomo the piazza was named after and at its heart, has been part of Ravello since the eleventh century. Inside is the blood of St Panteleone that liquefies once a year on July 27. Villa Cimbrone’s sweeping gardens are worth a visit. If you go be sure to catch the amazing view of Atrani below and the crystal blue sea beyond. Positano Positano is the first town of the Amalfi Coast if you’re coming from Naples or Sorrento. It’s best known as a well-heeled resort, something like the nearby island of Cápri. This superbly picturesque town has starred in many films, and it’s easy to see why, with its pastel-colored houses climbing the hill and the beach stretching out benign in the sun. If you go, be sure to have a glass of the famous limoncello!