Amalfi Coast: Luxury Travel Guide to Italy
Touring Positano, Capri & Sorrento
A vacation on Italy’s Amalfi Coast is a luxury experience rich in natural beauty, tradition and culture. From your holiday villa in Positano, Capri or Sorrento, you’ll see the colors of the Tyrrhenian Sea turn from sapphire to teal or turquoise throughout the day. In hidden harbors, elegant yachts sail past colorful fishing boats returning with their catch, or water taxis shuttling locals to vibrant markets.
Turning landward the view is just as spectacular. The coastline rises steeply from the water’s edge, creating a rugged mountainous terrain that juxtaposes dramatic cliffs with numerous picturesque villages built into the sides of the rock. Each town is a terraced composition of pastel stucco, orange roof tiles and mosaic domes.
‘The Pearl of the Amalfi Coast’
Perhaps the best known of the coastal towns, and nicknamed ‘The Pearl of the Amalfi Coast,’ is Positano. Built on a steep cliff face, Positano’s history is alternately humble and grand.
In ancient times, Positano was a small town that supplied Emperor Tiberius with flour. Beginning around the eleventh century, it was a prosperous port of the Amalfi Republic. By 1900, Positano’s fortunes had reversed again. It was still a sleepy fishing village in the 1950s when it was ‘discovered’ by John Steinbeck, Paul Klee and other writers and artists who were so entranced with the area, they often featured it in their works. Before long, word of the area and its charms spread and Positano became the vibrant Italian town it is today.
Amalfi’s Old- and New-World Charm
Celebrated for its unique vertical landscape, stunning views and pebbly beaches — some very secluded, others as popular and sociable as the piazza — Positano is a multi-level trove of traditional and contemporary treasures.
The flourmill that supplied the emperor has been modernized and is still operating. The Baroque houses built in the town’s heyday are still very much in evidence. And the narrow lanes and paths that have been winding throughout Positano for centuries continue to serve their purpose.
Amid all the Old World charm you’ll also find chic boutiques where one can purchase the famed ‘Moda Positano’ beachwear, one-off fashions made from hand-made linen, as well as Italian designer wear. You can also order a pair of stylish sandals custom made. And there are ceramics shops brimming with colorful, locally made majolica ware and tiles.
Relaxing in Amalfi’s Sun and Sea
The Amalfi Coast is located on the southern face of the Sorrento Peninsula, where the seaside atmosphere is relaxed and inviting.
The sun-warmed sea and its gentle waves are perfect for swimming, although you’ll want to pack your aqua shoes to accommodate the pebbles. You’ll discover numerous beach clubs offering amenities such as traditional beach lounging beds, changing rooms, cafés and rest rooms. Of course there are other, more secluded (and very romantic) beaches to enjoy, some accessible only by boat.
You’ll find pleasure craft are available to rent, including sailboats, rubber pontoon boats and kayaks. The fishing is exceptionally good off the Amalfi Coast and fishing trips with local fishermen can be arranged. Private boats with skippers are also available for touring the coast and the islands.
And when the sun goes down, the sea makes a glorious evening backdrop for fireworks, festivals and concerts al fresco.
The Amalfi Coast’s Famous Cliffs
Along the Amalfi Coast, above the sea, above the towns clinging to the cliff sides, are the Lattari Mountains. Simply motoring up the mountains can be a dramatic adventure; better to let a hired driver maneuver the hairpin turns while you take in the panoramic views. Outdoor enthusiasts will relish a scenic hike very appropriately referred to as ‘the Walk of the Gods.’
During your exploration of the mountains and hillsides, consider stopping in Ravello, a historic town perched high above the coast; and Amalfi, a seaside town situated at the mouth of a deep ravine at the foot of Mount Cerreto and surrounded by steep cliffs and lush coastal scenery. Once a prosperous city-state that rivaled Venice, Amalfi’s cultural riches have earned it status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
When you’re in the mood for a longer day of touring, visit Naples, Pompeii and Capri.
About an hour from Positano by car, the port of Naples is truly a one-of-a-kind historic city. Neapolitan art, architecture, cuisine, even the layout of the streets, reflect a heritage that’s a fascinating blend of Roman, Greek, Norman, French and Spanish influences. In fact, Naples is so rich in art and culture, a trained and registered private walking guide is highly recommended.
Naples, Pompeii and Capri
Just twenty minutes inland from downtown Naples is Pompeii. Even almost 2000 years after Mount Vesuvius erupted and buried the ancient city and its inhabitants, Pompeii still draws and captivates people of all ages. Painstakingly excavated, the site provides a detailed glimpse of city life during the height of the Roman Empire. Arrange for a trained and registered private guide to introduce you to the wonder and pathos of this ancient city.
Off the coast of Sorrento, you’ll find Capri, the celebrated island that’s attracted visitors since ancient Roman times. A stunningly beautiful spot, it offers everything from a postcard-perfect harbor and designer boutiques to ancient ruins and the alluring Grotta Azzurra.
Savor real Italian cooking
The food in the Amalfi region is fresh, flavorful and delicious — and kid-friendly, by the way.
Most of the local restaurants offer traditional Southern Italian home cooking and the opportunity to truly relax and absorb the local traditions. The menus feature lots of freshly caught frutti di mare, homemade pastas and luscious fruits and vegetables straight from the garden. The olive oil is made locally and the area’s famous San Marzano tomatoes create some of the best sauces, ragus and pizzas in Italy. More formal fine dining experiences are available, as well.
Fine wines are available everywhere on the Amalfi Coast; the rich soil and temperate climate produce bold, full-bodied varieties such as the red Taurasi, and the white Fiano di Avellino and Greco di Tufo.
To add to your authentic Italian cuisine experience, you can arrange to have a wine or limoncello tasting right in your villa. Perhaps you’d prefer private cooking classes at a local restaurant. People of all ages enjoy a tour of the bufala di mozzarella factory in Salerno. These are a few of the many memorable culinary experiences in which you can indulge during your stay.
Traveling to Amalfi by Land and Sea
It’s not necessary to rent a car for the duration of your stay in Positano; it’s recommended that you hire a car and driver, or rent a boat, as needed.
When on land, you’ll travel via cars on the mountainside roads and on foot along rather steep paths and stairs. Fortunately, the tempo of the area is relaxed and comfortable, so you can move about at a leisurely pace.
Amalfi Coast communities are oriented toward the sea and the most dramatic perspective from which to see them is from the water. A boat is also needed if you want to experience the hidden beauty of the less-well-known beaches and secluded coves. Fortunately, private motorboats, traditional brightly painted boats and large public ferries are all available.
Amalfi Coast Villas for Rent from Homebase Abroad
Homebase Abroad has a select Portfolio of Amalfi Coast luxury rental villas and comprehensive vacation planning services. With 13 years of experience planning villa rental vacations in the Amalfi region, Homebase Abroad has insider information about the best restaurants, shops and attractions. Homebase Abroad can procure tickets, plan itineraries based on your special interests, arrange for private guides… Homebase Abroad has the familiarity with the region, local contacts and expertise to create a custom luxury Italian villa vacation that meets all your requests and exceeds your expectations.
For information, including availability, please call Homebase Abroad at 781-639-4040 or UK: +44-20-7084-6374 to consult with a director who would be happy to answer all your questions and make suggestions as to how your luxury villa vacation could be customized and made especially memorable.
Click here to view our Portfolio of Amalfi Coast villa rentals.