Italy is filled with charm and is a must see country for all travellers and holiday makers alike. One place that should definitely not be overlooked is the Amalfi Coast, located in the southwest of the country.
Winding around the cliff top roads, with the crystal clear Adriatic sea below and the blue sky above, you are treated to vibrant colourful towns filled with culture and an array of experiences for you to indulge yourself in.
The first place to visit in the heart of this beautiful stretch of coast should be Sorrento.Sorrento is full of cobbled streets, cafés lining the pavements and picture-perfect views of Mount Vesuvius and the Naples bay.
This beautiful town is the perfect place for designer boutiques, lively bars and authentic Italian restaurants. On top of that, it is at the heart of the Neapolitan Riviera, so the beautiful towns of Positano and Amalfi are within easy reach.
Buildings in yellow, cream and terracotta cover the cliff side and the Sorrentine Peninsula. There are a number of apartments and hotels to choose from in this beautiful location, but I recommend staying at the Minerva hotel. It’s a family run hotel that is full of charm and truly wonderful staff. It also offers indisputable views of the town and the whole of the picturesque bay.
The old town of Sorrento is an ideal place for a wander. The Piazza Tasso is lined with coffee shops where you can sit in the sun and enjoy a traditional espresso or try the many different flavours of delicious gelato. And as the sun goes down, you can enjoy an alcoholic tipple (of limoncello) before heading off to the numerous lively bars.
Leading off the square in the historic centre are narrow cobbled alley ways, lined on each side by boutiques and craft shops. Take a visit to Via San Cesareo. Here, you’ll find shops that are piled high with foodie delights such as olive oil, cheese, and the famous limoncello and Sorrento lemons – all produced in the surrounding countryside. This local delicacy is one of the things that makes Sorrento famous, so don’t be surprised to find lemon decorated gifts throughout the town, and plenty of shops where you can taste the sweet liquor (in all forms; including sweets and ice cream!)
Along side these foodie delights are leather handbags, shoes, embroidered gifts and hand-carved wooden boxes. Perfect for a treat for yourself or as gorgeous souvenirs for a loved one. I really would recommend taking the time to watch how the craftsmen make these intricate boxes, or tables out of hand-carved wood. They are true works of art!
If you’re looking for traditional Italian cuisine on your trip, then O’Parrucchiano, Corso Italia is a must. It is fair to say that this restaurant is a local celebrity in its own right. O’Parrucchiano, Corso Italia is a family run restaurant dating back to 1868 and is believed to be where the delicious dish cannelloni was invented, nearly 150 years ago. Take a seat in the beautiful flower-decked, tree lined greenhouse terrace and pick one of the many delicious options the menu has to offer whilst sipping some local sweet wine.
Sorrento is full of history and culture, one of these being Chiesa di San Francesco, an 11th-century church that is located on the top of the cliffs overlooking the bay and tranquil cloistered yard. This is a picture perfect location for an Italian-style wedding and is well worth a visit.
Just a short walk north of Piazza Tasso is an old mill. It is set low in the ground and is now abandoned, slowly being taken over by ivy and trees, but it is still impressive to see.
From Sorrento you can board a ferry to the beautiful island of Capri. This island is a firm favourite of celebrities and a-listers alike. From the boat you will have a perfect view point to see all the pretty coloured villages and towns that cover the cliff sides. You can also take in the sights of the many spectacular sea caves and the beautiful Emerald Grotto along the way.
Capri is naturally picturesque with many vantage points around the top of the island to take in the views. You can even try to spot some celebrities on their luxury yachts sailing around the islands shores. Why not spend your time here looking through the island’s designer boutiques and fashionable Piazzetta Square.
Next stop along the coast is the beautiful town of Positano. Positano, an old fishing village on the Amalfi Coast, became the playground for the rich and famous in the 1950s. Its pink, cream and yellow buildings cling to the steep cliff face. Beneath them, fishing boats bob in the sea and deckchairs line the dark sandy beach.
The town’s streets snake up the cliff, offering luxury clothes stores, beautiful pottery shops and art galleries. Along the way there are many spots overlooking the town, offering you the perfect picture opportunity. The 11th-century Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta, stands front and centre in the Flavio Gioia square.
When travelling to the Amalfi Coast, don’t miss out the dainty and tranquil town of Ravello. Hidden high up in the mountains within lush green valleys, Ravello offers undeniable views of the Bay of Salento. You will feel like you’ve got the world at your feet whilst looking out across the Mediterranean sea.
Not many holiday-makers visit this little known town, so you will be able to avoid large crowds but be treated to it’s sophistication and charm. Its narrow lanes, filled with fine ceramics and art, all lead back to Piazza del Duomo, the main square. Here, the 11th century cathedral stands tall, basking in the Mediterranean sun.
Whilst in the square, take a seat at one of the many cafes and pizzerias serving tasty Italian cuisine. You must try a true Italian pizza here in the midday sun, you won’t regret it.
If you are into beautiful rose gardens then pay a visit to Villa Cimbrone and Villa Rufolo. The latter’s grounds are said to have inspired composer Richard Wagner and his opera, Parsifal. As a result, the town hosts an internationally renowned classical music festival every year in his honour.
The name-sake of this coast, Amalfi, is a medieval style town that has winding alleys all leading down to the beautiful pebble beach below. The main beach is the Marina Grande, half a kilometer in length, which is dotted with sun parasols and hugged by snack bars and cafés.
The focal point of the town is the magnificent Cathedral of St Andrew, located in Piazzo Duomo. Fifty-seven steps lead up to the entrance of the 13th-century building with its bronze doors and striped black and white facade. The cathedral is alleged to contain the relics of St Andrew in its fresco covered crypt.
If you want to visit an amazing destination, with plenty to explore then the Amalfi Coast should definitely be on your list.