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Home / Local Life / Italy / Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast
Amalfi Coast Map

The Amalfi Coast is one of the most enchanting settings in all the world. With its intoxicating vistas of the Italian Riviera, The Amalfi Coast will seduce you into a Mediterranean state of mind. This ancient region that stretches from below Naples down to Salerno was only accessible by boat or hiking the mountainous peaks until 100 years ago when the Amalfi Drive was built, and the distinct character of the towns and villages is still intact.

From your villa here, you can take in every shade of blue in the sea and sky from a spectacular location high on the

cliffs of this romantic coastline. The soft sea breeze is scented with wild herbs and the "Sfusato" lemons that grow in abundance, cascading from wooden pergolas. The mild climate makes every season nearly perfect and yields excellent produce and wines that are unique to the region.

Discover “antique” wines and hidden villages

Try the Casavecchia wines–“Old House” in Italian–an ancient winegrape that was rescued and reborn. Today there are half a dozen top quality producers of this variety once thought to be gone forever. You’ll discover that walking the trails and footpaths is the best way to make new finds like chancing across a tiny hamlet where you are served wines made by the townspeople and sublimely simple meals from nearby gardens and farms.

From the rustic to the refined, a plethora of intriguing experiences awaits. Enjoy a starlit night listening to an exclusive concert on the panoramic terraces of Ravello : a favorite of the literary crowd and inspiration to the giants of classical music from Wagner to Grieg , Toscanini and Bernstein, all of who stayed at Ravello’s Villa Rufolo where performances are now held in the lush gardens. Ravello was also the backdrop for the romance between Greta Garbo and conductor Leopold Stokowlski, who strolled through the rose gardens together.

International music and dance and unique local festivals

Festivals abound in the towns that make up the Amalfi Coast. At Positano the prestigious International Art of Dance Awards are held yearly, and the voguish celebrity event, "Modamare a Positano" (Swimsuit Fashion show). Lesser-known festivals such as Festa della Donne (the Festival of Women) are celebrated all over Italy. On this day, men bring flowers, usually yellow Mimosa, to the women in their lives.

There is also a dramatic historic sailing regatta, the underwater procession to the Grotta dello Smeraldo, held at Christmas, and the spectacular fireworks display on New Year's Eve.

The home of “Slow Food,” luscious produce and fresh bounty from the sea

Look for the word sagra, the Italian equivalent of a farmers market and village fair; a side of Italian life few tourists see. Some feature local produce such as carciofi—artichokes, and asparagi—the famous white asparagus, and sfusato lemons. Others celebrate the fresh offerings of the sea. The tiny town of Cetara’s fishing fleet is one of the best in the Mediterranean, catching, processing and preserving tuna and anchovies. Taste the "colatura di alici" (anchovy sauce), a delicious dressing for entrees with a wonderful amber color, prepared by skilled chefs according to an antique and secret recipe.

The town of Furore is known for its cuisine, which uses the local tomatoes, olive oil, potatoes and mountain herbs to create dishes that echo the terrain. Be adventurous and try the regional wines like the white Lacryma Christi (tears of Christ) or the red Gragnano, (slightly sulphuric in taste, from Vesuvius' volcanic soil) or the superb Campania white, Greco di Tufo .

Jeweled canyons below the water

Just beyond Furore is Conca dei Marini, a fishing village reknown for the Grotta dello Smeraldo, named for the emerald tones of its waters. Partially submerged in the sea, the cave has a 70-foot-high ceiling and an impressive display of stalactites and stalagmites—you’ll be entranced by the shimmering light that plays off the towering columns of stone.

Vibrant hues and colorful clothing

Positano, with its white buildings tumbling down the steep hillside, forms a canvas for the vibrant flowers that decorate the houses and the small artisans' shops with their multihued cloths. The setting has attracted films like “Under the Tuscan Sun” and many others. Known for its "Positano style" fashion—shirts and blouses in natural fabrics and flamboyant colors—Positano is a shopping mecca for fashionistas; just recently Missoni opened a new boutique in town.

High above the Mediterranean, one of our favorite trattorias

High above Positano is the hilltop village of Montepertuso. Worth the trip to dine at one of our favorite trattorias Il Ritrovo, with its authentic “Slow Food” cuisine, fantastic views and it’s far from the crush of the crowds. Chef Salvatore also conducts cooking classes where you can learn the techniques of slow food right at the source.

According to legend, Monterpertuso was where the battle between the Virgin Mary and the Devil took place. Traces are said to be seen in the rock of the Gambera Mount in the shape of the snake and the enigmatic hole in the mountain, supposedly made by the index finger of the Virgin.

To the west is Vettica Maggiore a charming seaside village. An old local adage says "Chi vuol vivere sano, la mane a Vettica, la sera a Praiano" which loosely translates to “For a healthy life, spend mornings in Vettica and evenings in Praiano.”

In the distance you can glimpse the small archipelago of Li Galli, made up of three islets: Gallo Lungo, Rotunda and Castelluccio. These were home to the fabled Sirens of mythology that tried to lure Ulysses to his doom.

Ischia: a mingling of natural hot springs and world-class entertainment

While Capri demands the lion’s share of media attention for its upscale residences and exclusive beaches, nearby is the small island of Ischia, home to the Teatro-Arena, an outdoor theater that has hosted music and rock megastars like Tina Turner and Mireille Mathieu. With sparsely populated white sand beaches, thermal hot spring spas and the island's Epomeo wine, produced on the slopes of its extinct volcano, Ischia combines tranquility and exciting entertainment in an island getaway.

Marvelous mozzarella

About an hour from Amalfi is the Vannulo Buffalo Farm, where contented buffalo live in organic bliss. You can see the cheese-making process that produces the prized mozzarella di bufala—a creamy cheese that will send your taste buds heavenward.

Scala, Amalfi’s oldest town, has become noted for its delicious “Limoncello” liquore, and is popular for its traditional feasts and celebrations. Scala retains some unique reminders of its history as a center for ironworks. The Valle delle Ferriere (Valley of the Ironworks) is now a nature preserve, open to the public. Find a shady spot to picnic among its waterfalls and rock pools and marvel at the unusual species of orchid that grow here.

Step back in time and experience the true Amalfi Coast

Procida is the smallest and least known of the islands of the Gulf of Naples where “The Talented Mr. Ripley” was filmed. We love it because it is still the Italy of the people, with none of the commercial aspects of the tourist areas. Everything is hidden from sight behind the high, vividly colored walls, adding to the beauty and mystery of Procida.

On Monday evenings if you stroll down the Via VI Novembre, you’ll hear the sweet voices of the local gospel choir rehearsing wafting through the warm breezes. The waterfront has several good restaurants where you can watch the fishing boats quietly bob in the tide and dine on the bounty they caught that morning. Procida is an island to discover, fascinating for its winding streets, the ancient buildings and the villages clinging to the rocks above the little port.

Beautiful Places has selected the finest villas in the Amalfi Coast for you to call home while in this romantic region. You’ll amass a lifetime of treasured memories as you explore the wondrous sights here and become swept up in the passionate lifestyle of this ancient and captivating land.