When people think of Italy their minds immediately go to the Roman colosseum and the amazing ruins of the city, the cobblestone streets of Florence that were once the center of the world, the charming canals in Venice, or even a nice bowl of homemade pasta and sauce made with the freshest ingredients. But what if I tell you that there is one place that, once you visit it, will become your first thought when you hear the word “Italy.” I am talking about the Amalfi Coast, one of Italy’s most beautiful places. With giant limestone cliffs that rise over the emerald and deep blue shades provided by the Tyrrhenian Sea, and settlements that date back to the Greeks carved deep into the mountains, the Amalfi Coast is the perfect spot for an unforgettable vacation that, even the more famous places like Cinque Terre or Portofino, have a hard time topping.
There are over ten towns that conform the Amalfi Coast, and all of them are worth a visit.In fact, most people recommend doing both a boat tour and a car tour of the coast, that way both, equally as beautiful perspectives are provided to the tourist, but most travelers do not have the time to hit all of them, so in this article the focus will remain on the two major towns: Amalfi and Positano. The coast is most accessible through boats, known as “traghetti,” and tickets for this boat can be bought along all its stops. These boats can be taken at several places along the coast, including Naples, but we recommend taking the one in the city of Salerno, just south of the coast, since it is a shorter period of time, and thus, cheaper. The first stop you want to make is in the town of Amalfi.
At one point the town of Amalfi was known as the Republic of Amalfi; it was one of the richest republics in all of Italy, and they exerted their power over all the Mediterranean Sea. One of the first thing that you will notice, after being mesmerized by the beauty of the town, is that the wealth that once characterized the town is still visible in their architecture as well as the designs of the houses that seem to embrace the precipices surrounding the town. Once you are off the boat you will most likely make your way through an archway that will lead you to a square with plenty of picturesque restaurants and stores, and once you turn right, you will notice a building with Byzantine architecture, that is St. Andrew’s Cathedral, its name comes from the apostle Andrew whose remains are said to be kept in the church.
Once in the town, there are many things you can do. You can visit the cathedral which is also a museum, eat in any of their restaurants, although it is always recommended to have a view of the sea for a more pleasant meal, or just walk and explore the town and the many natural wonders surrounding it. And if at any point you start smelling lemons know that it is not a tumor pressing on your olfactory bulb, but a normal characteristic of the town. Amalfi is known for cultivating probably the best lemons in the world, the “sfusato Amalfitano.,” so make sure to try some limoncello and buy a couple of bottles while you are in the area because it is a unique chance to try these magnificent lemons.
If you find yourself with more time in your hands, then get on another “traghetto” and head to the next town, Positano. Being the biggest town in Amalfi Coast, Positano provides with plenty of things to do. Just like Amalfi, it is located between cliffs although it does not feel as narrow (the streets are still narrow, but not the town itself). This is as good place to have a quieter time, go to the beach, and even spend the night since it usually has less tourists than Amalfi (but not by a lot). It is also recommended to pay a visit to the church of St. Maria Assunta, also built by the Byzantines. Make sure to enjoy go to the highest point of the town for an unforgettable sunset, and if you are looking for a more peaceful vacation then you can always try to rent a boat so you can have your own hidden cove for just yourself, just like renting a little piece of heaven.