The Amalfi Coast: Italy’s Heavenly Cliffs

Amalfi Coast 3Possibly the most picturesque part of all of Italy, the Amalfi Coast is a short but stunning stretch of cliffs and bays that are nothing short of stunning. The coastal road snakes along 50 km of sheer drop-offs to perfect Mediterranean waters, and it’s hard to not feel at least a little like you’re in a James Bond movie whenever you drive on it. Lemon groves and small villages cling to hillsides so steep that new construction has been thankfully difficult, and ugly development is held at bay by topography. Instead, traditional-style houses painted in pastel colors adorn the slopes. Those lemons are used to make world-famous limoncello liquor, and their ubiquitous trees and pleasant scent give the whole region an idyllic sense of peace and simplicity. The history of the Amalfi Coast, full as it is of eras of maritime, merchant, and government power, has also blessed the region with a wealth of archaeological sites and artistic relics.

Amalfi Coast 1Amalfi itself was named a UNESCO World Heritage site, features a historic piazza and magnificent Roman Duomo building. It was also a seaside resort to many Europeans during the interwar period of the 1920’s and ‘30s. ­Looking down on Amalfi from a rocky vantage point is the even smaller village of Ravello, which boasts the most spectacular views of the whole region. It is also home to the ­­Festival di Ravello, a whole season between March and November when open-air concerts occur in the warm, sunny days and pleasant, breezy evenings. The area around Amalfi is known as a haven for creative types, and many famous artists, writers, and musicians reside here or maintain a holiday villa for their most relaxing of vacations. Positano, not far down the coast, is a lovely town where regulations prohibit the driving of cars, so the winding streets are perfect for walking. Colorful homes are built into a steep hillside that leads all the way down to a pleasant bay, making for a photogenic and unforgettable stay. The only drawback of Positano is that the prices are noticeably higher–be sure to research ahead of time to find villas that are good value. Sorrento is one of the most famous attractions of the region, and makes for another excellent, high-society destination. Expect to find some of the best restaurants in Italy here, where the ingredients are all fresh and local and the recipes come from the heavily guarded secrets of family tradition.

Amalfi Coast 2Wherever you go in the Sorrentine Peninsula, you’ll find panoramic views, luxury dining, and enough activities to keep anyone busy. Hiking, boating, fishing, exploring historical sites, and more can keep families and couples busy as long as they like. La Costiera Amalfitana in particular is the best place to appreciate the famous sweet life of Italy. Relax, you’re in paradise.