Magically suspended between the blue sky and the iridescent colored sea, the Amalfi coast seems to be born from the palette of a painter who wanted to use the warmer color gradients for creating a landscape that enchants the visitor at the first shot, giving thrilling experience and such evocative view to doubt, for a moment, it is real. It is the land where the sweet scent of lemon blossoms harmonizes itself with the most aromatic one of the Mediterranean vegetation and the acrid aroma of saltiness; where the brilliant colors of the majolica domes, bougainvillea and carnations pergolas give an evident colored touch to the typical whitewashed houses, clinging to the last offshoots of the Lattari Mounts that plunge dramatically into the sea. A vertical landscape, in short, characterized by a picturesque labyrinth of stairways and narrow alleys, connecting the two main elements of this landscape: the mountains and the sea. A continuous succession of headlands and inlets, bays and fjords, interspersed with pebbled beaches and rocks on which you can still see the ancient viceregal towers, the first bulwark of the local population against the Saracen attacks. The shift from the sea to mountain is seamless: the mountain sides were terraced over the centuries, shaped by human labor to create flaps of arable land and already compared, during the Renaissance period, to the legendary Hesperides by the Italian writer and naturalist Giambattista Della Porta. All the towns of the Amalfi coast are connected by the scenic SS. 163 road, built in the first half of the XIX century during the Bourbon period and always considered one of the most beautiful road in Italy. Following the natural course of the coastline, the route is full of curves, nestled between the rock and the sea cliffs, giving new and spectacular shots at the exit of every tunnel or hairpin bend. Before the construction of the coastal road, locals reached all the towns via mule tracks and footpaths, still existing and particularly appreciated by trekking lovers for the stunning views that can be enjoyed.
Six Magic Places
Positano is one of the best known places of the Amalfi coast for its picturesque staircases, whitewashed houses following the natural course of the mountain and creating a vertical landscape. Appreciated by International artists after the First World War, Positano is famous for its handmade leather sandals and cotton/linen clothes (the so called “Moda Positano“), for its beautiful XIX-XX century buildings in Mediterranean style and its postcard landscapes with the background of the tiled dome of the main church and Li Galli islands.
Scala the oldest town of the Amalfi coast and birthplace of fra’ Gerardo Sasso, founder of the Knights of Malta, is surrounded by dense forests of chestnut trees. It still preserves its quite and relaxing atmosphere that perfectly harmonizes itself with the rich historical monuments, revealing the wealth of the population during the Middle Ages, mainly composed of noble merchants. The ruins of the Basilica of Sant’Eustachio, the largest church in the Duchy of Amalfi, is situated in panoramic position overlooking the village of Pontone and still shows the beautiful inlay work on the exterior side of the apses, frescoes and precious marble.
Ravello already praised by the Italian poet Boccaccio in his Decameron, with its postcard landscape and noble atmosphere that was a source of inspiration for Richard Wagner who imagined the magical gardens of Klingsor admiring Villa Rufolo gardens. Buen retiro for artists, it houses one of the oldest music festival in Italy, the Ravello Festival, which offers a new main theme every years, embracing all artistic disciplines. In addition to religious buildings, many of which dating from the Medieval period, ancient palaces and noble mansions coexist with contemporary buildings, such as the Auditorium designed by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. The view that you can enjoy from Villa Cimbrone Belvedere is really stunning and definitely one of the most famous in the world!
Praiano with its genuine and authentic atmosphere, far away from the mass tourism, is characterized by narrow streets making their way through the Mediterranean vegetation, terraced gardens and typical houses, leading directly to the sea. Here you can enjoy the most romantic sunset of the whole coast: the purple sun slowly disappears behind the mountains, illuminating in the background Capri with its Faraglioni, the Sorrento Peninsula and Punta Campanella.
Amalfi the town that gives its name to the coast, is situated at the mouth of the Valle dei Mulini; it was the first of the Four Maritime Republics of Italy and for a long time had the monopoly of trade with the East. It looks like a cluster of white houses clinging to the rock and connected to each other by covered alleys and stairways. At the center of the main square there is the beautiful Cathedral of St. Andrew, with its impressive staircase, the bell-tower in Arab-Norman style and the charming Cloister of Paradise. The Handmade paper Museum and the Ancients Arsenals of the Republic also worth a visit.
Atrani a beautiful and charming town situated at the mouth of the Valle del Dragone, is a natural amphitheater on the sea, offering the visitor picturesque views as well as the pleasure to spend relaxing moments in the main square, away from the mass tourism and very close to the beach. During the period of the ancient Maritime Republic of Amalfi, in the valuable Church of San Salvatore de’ Birecto (X century) took place the official investiture of the Doges.
The beaches of the Amalfi Coast are among the most beautiful in the Tyrrhenian and in the world, even if they are not very extensive.
Forget the classic Caribbean and immense beaches and get ready to discover a new way of experiencing the sea, a little more tiring.
The villages of the Amalfi Coast are located above sea level and often you have to cross paths or go down some steps carved into the rock to get to the sea.
The sun peeks out in the early hours of the afternoon, so after a hearty breakfast, let yourself be carried away by the call of the waves, whose sound evokes the song of the Sirens.
We begin our journey to discover the most beautiful beaches of the Amalfi Coast starting from those between Amalfi and Atrani, which satisfy all types of tourists: those looking for a corner of paradise away from the chaos and those who prefer equipped beaches, with the last hit in the background and the laughter of the umbrella neighbors.
The beach of Marina Grande in Amalfi is rather lively and suitable for those who want to experience a sparkling summer: the place is one of the centers of coastal life in the summer.
Even the athletes are satisfied: to get to the beach of Duoglio which is 1 km from Amalfi you have to go down 400 steps at km 28 of the state, at the bottom of which there is the “Lido degli Artisti” where you can rent water sports equipment such as canoeing, windsurfing and diving.
The lido “Due scugnizzi” is much quieter and there is a restaurant that offers typical dishes based on fresh fish.
Every day from 09.00 to 17.00, every 30 minutes, from the dock of Amalfi boats that take you to hidden beaches and inaccessible by land as Santa Croce: the round trip ticket costs 4.50 euros.
The public parking in Piazza Flavio Gioia in Amalfi, is very large, 60 minutes stop costing 5 euros, if you leave at the first light of the morning you can stop on the few white stripes in the area.
The beach of Atrani is preferred by families with small children in tow and is one of the most characteristic of the coast because it is divided into two by the mouth of the Dragon, dry during the summer months.
Before arriving in Amalfi, on the SS 163 there is a detour that signals the village. In summer access to the beach is forbidden to non-residents and entry is blocked with a bar.
The public parking can only accommodate 30 cars and since the morning it is busy, so the only solution is to leave the car to Amalfi which is connected to Atrani by a scenic route.
The hidden beach of Ravello
Continuing on the SS163 here we find the beach of Castiglione in Ravello, little known and for this niche destination.
The historic center of this village nestled on the hill “hides” the marina that has a beach surrounded by cliffs where there is a bathhouse.
Unfortunately, the open spaces are limited on the Amalfi Coast, here in Castiglione on both sides you can experience a wild experience, in the shade of the Mediterranean scrub.
To access it, it is necessary to follow the steps on the main road, just before the ramp to Ravello.
If you arrive by car, park in Atrani or Ravello and walk towards the scenic trails.
Our advice is to take advantage of public transport, the SITA line makes several stops in front of the steps that allow access to the beaches.
Cetara and its quiet beaches
The small beach of the village was formed after the earthquake of the ’80s and has a bathing establishment with all the services, even a restaurant where between a swim and the other you can appreciate the typical dishes based on fish.
Despite being an appendix of the village the seabed is clean and until late afternoon the sun accompanies tourists in search of the perfect tan.
In the beginning it was a deposit of building materials, but the sea decided to recover its space and transported sand and pebbles in abundance.
To access, leave the car in the public pay parking and cross the gate behind the port.
The beach of Lannio is located a few steps from the center of Cetara, interesting its name deriving from the “lagna”, or the lamentations of the monks executed by the Saracens during the numerous raids. It is hidden behind the port tower with the inevitable stairways.
Maiori and Minori: the Amalfi coast beach style
The Maiori beach is a very unusual panorama compared to what is offered by the Amalfi Coast: a kilometer of sandy beach and 15 aligned bathing establishments, arranged on the flat promenade that was developed after the catastrophic natural event of 1954 and which now houses hotels and restaurants.
At the ends there are two stretches of free beach with little intrusive kiosks.
The bathing establishments offer the possibility to book jet skis and pedal boats, or let yourself be led to the discovery of the Cave of Pandora and the Sulfurea Cave.
Parking in this area is not a problem, towards the end of the straight that runs along the sea, on the right, there is a paid parking.
Obviously, however, during periods of greatest inflow it can be particularly complex to park and you must contact private operators who have various spaces in the country.
Near Maiori there is Erchie, with 200 meters of beach which are marked by the presence of the Saracene towers. The village is rather small and parking, in the busiest months, can be very complicated.
If Maiori has changed its appearance, Minori has always remained the same, with its narrow streets that plunge into the blue of the Tyrrhenian Sea, but to look carefully at the way to go before plunging into the waters of the sea, there is a bit of way to go.
The beach of 250 meters has 3 bathing establishments and its position that smiles to the south, allows it to be kissed by the sun all day. To reach it you must overcome Maiori and take a few turns. Being smaller there are fewer parking spaces.
The beaches of Positano
Positano offers a sea of opportunities from Laurito to Fornillo.
A destination sought by the international jet set, it attracts foreign tourists and Italian tourists looking for a salty vacation.
Laurito beach takes its name from the laurel bushes that grow spontaneously in the area and accompany the flight of stairs. The atmosphere that you breathe is quieter because of the few free areas, most are managed by hotels and the clientele is rather reserved.
The beach of Arienzo, instead, well known for its 300 steps embedded in a fairytale landscape among the most luxurious villas, is exposed to the south-west and the sun stays here until late.
To reach these two beaches by car after passing the center of Positano continue towards Amalfi, from the Hotel San Pietro the stairs leave for Laurito, while 800 meters after those for Arienzo. The two localities are connected to a straight line with parking lots.
The main beach of Positano is Marina Grande, its 300-meter beach is surrounded by the colorful houses of the center and overlooks the Li Galli islands.
Bathing establishments, restaurants and clubs where you can make four jumps from dusk to dawn.
In the free zone there is the boarding point for the nearby coves accessible only by sea. The dark sand and the pebbles do not discourage tourists who want to spend a holiday of a certain level.
Also very interesting is Fornillo, which can be reached from the boat dock, passing through a romantic pedestrian path.
Both beaches can be reached by descent on foot from the state where there are paid parking lots.
The Nordic charm of the Fiord of Furore
The Fiordo di Furore is located a few steps from Praiano, every year on the first Sunday of July there is a very popular diving competition. It is dominated by a bridge from which you can see the small strip of beach rather deep in front of the seaside village, now home to the museum and uninhabited. At km 23 of the SS 163 there are the stairs leading to the beach.
Unfortunately there are no car parks along the main road, which is quite narrow at this point, but by parking in the center of Praiano you can reach the place by shuttle or by public transport.
Nearby is the beach of Marina di Praia, part of the municipal territory of Praiano and famous for its pebbles and for Torre a Mare that dominates it.
The beach is equipped with bars, restaurants and sunbeds, those who want to go as far as the Grotta dell’Africana, Grotta Suppraiano and Cala di Gavitella, can do it on board of one of the graceful boats that leave every half hour.
The beach is lit only in the central hours but in the evening the lights of the nightclubs are lit more in the Amalfi Coast. We remind our travelers that Cala della Gavitella has a splendid view of Positano and Capri and can be reached on foot, facing 413 steps.
Vietri sul Mare: towards infinity and beyond
Last but not least, we mention the beach of Vietri sul Mare, the Amalfi Coast port and main hub to the nearby Salerno.
Here is the only train station, reached by regional trains, and it is a good compromise if you have left the car at home because you do not intend to pay for parking.
The first beach of the marina of Vietri sul Mare is La Baia, 400 meters long. Unfortunately the waters are not crystal clear because of the proximity to the port of Salerno, but the bathing establishments offer many services. The beach has a private parking reserved for customers of the bathing establishments.
The beach of Marina di Vietri, like that of Maiori, was formed following the flood of 1954 that affected part of the Amalfi Coast.
Mud and debris that stole space from the sea came from the Lattari Mountains. The beach is divided into two parts by the river Bonea, one is free and from here you start towards the coves scattered around.
Marina di Albori instead is a small village inhabited by 350 people and is connected to the sea with small paths that climb the mountains.
The bathing establishments all have private parking, for the adventurers there is the public one, always on payment which opens at 07.00 and closes at 20.00.
Island of Capri, Italian Isola di Capri, Latin Capreae, island near the southern entrance to the Bay of Naples, Campania regione (region), southern Italy. It lies opposite the Sorrento peninsula, to which it was joined in prehistoric times. The island is a single block of limestone 3.9 miles (6.25 km) long, with a maximum width of 1.8 miles and an area of 4 square miles (10 square km), rising to 1,932 feet (589 metres) at Monte Solaro in the west. Two indentations in its precipitous cliff-lined coast serve as landing places: the Marina Grande on the north shore, protected by a breakwater, and the open Marina Piccola on the south, used when the north wind is particularly strong. Inhabited in prehistoric times, the island later became a Greek colony and then a resort (Capreae) of emperors in the early years of the Roman Empire. The emperor Augustus resided there, and Tiberiusbuilt several villas, one of which, the Villa Iovis on the island’s northeastern tip overlooking Naples, has been excavated. During the 10th century the population, fearing pirate raids, moved from seaside settlements to the present towns, Capri (east) and Anacapri (west), high above the shore. Until a carriage road was built in the 19th century between Capri and Anacapri, the latter could only be reached from the sea by a flight of 800 steps called the Scala Fenicia (Phoenician Stairs). In the Middle Ages Capri belonged to the Abbey of Montecassino and to the republic of Amalfi before passing to the Kingdom of Naples. It changed hands between the French and the British several times during the Napoleonic Wars, before being returned to the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in 1813. Stone artifacts have been found in one of the caves with which the rocky shores of Capri abound; the most notable of these is the Blue Grotto (Grotta Azzurra), rediscovered in 1826 and accessible only by boat. Sunlight entering through the water that fills most of the entrance gives it an extraordinary blue light, whence its name. There are ruins of two medieval castles, the Castello di Barbarossa and the Castiglione, and the oldest church (10th–11th centuries) is that of St. Costanzo, the island’s patron saint. The Villa San Michele, built by the Swedish writer Axel Munthe, is on the site of a Tiberian villa.
Naples, Italian Napoli, ancient (Latin) Neapolis (“New Town”), city, capital of Naples provincia, Campania regione, southern Italy. It lies on the west coast of the Italian peninsula, 120 miles (190 km) southeast of Rome. On its celebrated bay—flanked to the west by the smaller Gulf of Pozzuoli and to the southeast by the more extended indentation of the Gulf of Salerno—the city is situated between two areas of volcanic activity: Mount Vesuvius to the east and the Campi Flegrei (Phlegraean Fields) to the northwest. The most recent eruption of Vesuvius occurred in 1944. In 1980 an earthquake damaged Naples and …(100 of 5781 words)
Pompeii is one of the most significant proofs of Roman civilization and, like an open book, provides outstanding information on the art, customs, trades and everyday life of the past.
The city has re-emerged from the darkness of centuries precisely as it would have been when it was unexpectedly buried in the thick layer of ash and lava which poured down from the devastating eruption of Vesuvius. It was the year 79 A.D. The scale of the tragedy was appalling: in what had been one of the most active and splendid Roman centres, life came to a permanent standstill.
The thick layer of volcanic material which submerged it, made up to a large extent of ash and lapilli – non-hard material, unlike that which covered Herculaneum and which solidified into extremely hard stone -has meant that the city has remained intact until the present day, not only as far as its buildings are concerned, but also as regards the contents inside the houses and shops, providing an absolutely fascinating picture of “daily” life.
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