- Modern Med minimalism
- Rugged Amalfi cliff side
- Nautically Neapolitan
- Bay of Naples cove
- Italian eye candy
- In view of Vesuvius
- Quirky nautical
- Neapolitan cliffhanger
- Boho beachside bolthole
- Praiano’s cascading cliffs
- Ancient monastery, reborn for sybarites
- Cliffside, between Positano and Amalfi
- Majolica-filled manor
- Sant'Agnello seaside
Amalfi Coast Overview
- Winding roads, secret coves, sparkling sea
- Coast life
- Fish, ships and breeze
Craggy, winding and riddled with caves and secret beaches, the Amalfi Coast is one of the most spectacular stretches of coastline in the world. The volcanic headland reaches out from the ankle of Italy towards the Tyrrhenian, sheer mountainside plummeting into the sun-sparkled sea.
Just to the south of Naples, this postcard-perfect promontory attracts landscape-hungry artists, glamour-hungry film stars and spaghetti-hungry gourmets from around the world. The serpentine coast road weaves around and tunnels through the mountains, never losing sight of the sea. It’s a route made for summer drives with the warm salty breeze in your hair, or for cliff-top hikes and hidden-beach picnics. Crumpled-wedding-cake towns spill down to the shore, where weathered fishing skiffs dock to unload the catch of the day, alongside summer sun-seekers sipping limoncello at the terraced bars of Positano or Praiano.
Absolutely Amalfi Coast
Nothing says ‘Amalfi Coast’ like a tot of limoncello in a chilled ceramic tumbler. The region is famed both for the ceramics produced by its craftsmen and the sweet lemony nectar expertly prepared from the lemon trees that litter the rocky cliff sides. The genuine article is made with lemon rind, not juice, hence its distinctly sweet flavour, and the drink is slowly supped as a digestivo in bars and restaurants all over the coast.
- Hotels can organise a road or boat taxi for you depending on your destination. For the return journey, either go down to the village dock, where there's usually a boat taxi stand awaiting your custom, or call the hotel to arrange a return by road. In Positano, the road taxi rank is at the top of the village, the boat taxi down at the right hand side of the dock. Boat taxi's aren't an option in inland Ravello – the road taxi rank is right in the centre.
- Tipping culture
- 10–15 per cent is appreciated.
- Siesta and fiesta
- 8.30pm–9pm is when most tend to head out to eat. Afterwards, bars and clubs stay open until midnight or 1h.
- Packing tips
- The Amalfi Coast is navigated by thousands of steep steps – heels won't cut it, so pack some flats to stash in a bag when the stilettos come out; walking boots for serious yompers. Hats and head scarves which aren't likely to flee at the first sign of a breeze are a good investment for travelling by speedboat.
- Recommended reads
- Giovanni Boccacio's bawdy classic, The Decameron mentions Ravello and the gardens of Villa Rufolo in one novella. More contemporary, John Steinbeck's 1953 novel Positano is set in and around the town of the same name. For fans of the macabre, John Webster's bloodbath of a play The Duchess of Malfi is a not-quite-true story, based on the machinations of the 16th-century Amalfi aristocracy.
- Spaghetti alla anything is the star player on any Amalfi menu, but it would be a crime not to have it with fresh seafood from the daily catch – spaghetti alla vongole (clams) and prawn or mussel linguine are Mr & Mrs Smith's favoured foodstuffs. If you don't have a fish-friendly palate, the towns of Montepertuso and Nocelle are excellent destinations for meat and local produce. Some villages have their own specialties – Nerano is famous for black spaghetti con zucchini and Sorrento-style gnocchi comes with a deliciously rich, mozzarella and tomato sauce. The Amalfi Coast is also the homeland of limoncello – the sweet meringue-ish liqueur made from the lemon trees that grow all over the cliff sides.
- Time zone
- GMT +1 hour
- Dialling codes
- Country code: +39. Area code for Salerno province: 089
- Do go/don't go
- The coast road can be crammed with coaches in the summertime, but the pay-off is the palpable buzz in the air during this time of year. March–May and September–October are quieter periods, and often the weather is still good. Winter can be romantic, although some hotels are closed in the low season.
Don't go home without...
Picking up a bottle of limoncello from the factory on the way up the hill to Ravello. There's an aluminium door to the right of the road – just knock.