La Bella Italia – Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast is stunning! So much that almost 20 years ago, in 1997, it was designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Last Summer I spent a weekend in this stunning part of Southern Italy, and I fell in love with it! Although not far from Puglia, the region where I live (a mere 3 and a half hours drive), I barely knew the area. I had visited it once with my parents when I was a kid, but I didn’t have much memory of it: it was such a surprise to discover how beautiful it is! I slept in Maiori, the perfect starting point for many different day trips around along Amalfi Coast.

Gios along Amalfi Coast
Gios along Amalfi Coast

First of all, where is that? Amalfi Coast is so called after the name of one of its best known towns, Amalfi. It is a stretch of coastline about 50-kilometers long in Campania region (the most famous city of it being Napoli, or Naples). It runs from Vietri sul Mare, a picturesque town worldwide famous for its ceramics, up to Meta, hilltop village just outside Sorrento. Amalfi Coast runs at the base of the Lattari mountains, which makes the view of the coastline very dramatic.

Driving along the Amalfi Coast

Gios with lemons in Amalfi
Gios with lemons in Amalfi

Driving through the so – called “road of 1,000 bends” is an experience itself. Very tortuous, the road passes through lemon terraces (being the lemon the most characteristic fruit of the area, well known for the limoncello productions) and traditional villages. The road is so narrow that during summer months traffic jams are inevitable! For this reason, if driving is not your favorite thing, you should probably avoid to drive on this road, preferring to take one of the buses that link the coast. It will also be a pleasant way to enjoy the stunning cliffs on one side and the astonishing azure sea on the other.

Amalfi is one of the main towns to visit along this road, definitely the best known among the tourists. Very rich in the past, especially from the 9th to the 13th century, Amalfi was one of the glorious maritime republics of Italy (city- state like Genoa, Pisa and Venice). The city features a magnificent Arab-Norman cathedral, Amalfi Dome, that is a must visit.

The town itself is not very big, but very pretty. I enjoyed a stroll along the narrow streets of its center, sipping limoncello and eating gelato!

Nativity Scenes in Amalfi

Along the way I had the opportunity to see a few Static Nativity Scenes. In Italy we call them Presepi: every Southern Italian home has its own handmade Nativity Scene at Christmas.

Traditional Nativity Scenes depict Jesus, resting in a manger, at the center of the scene, among Mary and Joseph, surrounded by animals, shepherds. The Three Kings are usually shown far from the manger, making their way to pay homage to the new born King of the World: as per tradition, they following the Star of Bethlehem, and arrive there on the Twelfth Night. All the area surrounding Naples has a big tradition of handmade Nativities Scenes.

Where to stay

Amalfi Coast can be expensive to visit: the area is very touristic, especially in summer. Therefore you should plan ahead: in this way you can find good deals in very nice areas, not too crowded.  I suggest to stay in or around Maiori, for its central location along the coast. From there it is a nice walk to one of he pearls along the coast, Minori, and a 15 minutes bus ride to Amalfi. I stayed in Maiori, in Panorama Hotel, with a stunning view over the beach and the hills. But around there is plenty of opportunities for accommodation, suitable to any pocket.

As in any Southern Italian area, along all the Amalfi Coast you can experience the best food ever. In Maiori you should try the sfogliatelle, tipical pastry filled with ricotta, in a shape of scallops, You can eat very good ones in Pasticceria Napoli, the best traditional patisserie along the coast. If you are looking for good seafood, try the fish and the risottoes at Dedalo, on Corso Regina.

Have you ever visited Amalfi Coast? Why don’t we plan a visit together in Summer 2017? If you are interested, drop me a line or leave a comment below. As you know, I will be happy to show you around!

Date of Last Visit: July 2015

One thought on “La Bella Italia – Amalfi Coast”

Buongiorno :) What are you thinking?

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