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The incredible beauty of the Amalfi Coast represents one of the many famous Italian prides in the world. It is a strip of land that extends over the Tyrrhenian Sea along which some of the most beautiful towns in the world overlook: Amalfi, Positano, Ravello, Vietri, Cetara and Sorrento.

It is a place famous all over the world, praised by artists and musicians, very popular with tourists from all corners of the earth (foreign tourists, in fact, seems to exceed italian tourists). These narrow places are always very crowded and it is better to visit them after a careful travel planning to avoid getting stuck between queues, unobtainable parking, profiteers of tourists. And this post aims to help those who are going to these places.

The itinerary

It is difficult to dwell on each place of the Coast, due to the incredible number of monuments and landscape views in a limited area. In this post I will try to indicate the main ones, with some small tricks (which you can find at the bottom) to visit it at its best and without too much stress.

Amalfi

Amalfi is undoubtedly the most famous town and gives its name to the entire Coast. Amalfi was one of the “Maritime Republics” of ancient tradition and is the birthplace of Flavio Gioia who, according to legend, would have invented the compass. It does not matter if it is history or simple tradition: infact, in the central square named after him there is a statue erected in his honor.

The town extends along its marina (photo 1), with beautiful views characterized by steep hills, stretched out directly on the sea. At the center of the promenade, from Piazza Flavio Gioia buses depart for the nearby Ravello and other towns on the Coast.

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1. The marina of  Amalfi

The beautiful Duomo (photo 2) is dedicated to St. Andrew and was built in the 9th century, with a facade that recalls the Moorish style but also has Gothic influences.

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2. Amalfi – Duomo of  St. Andrew

The interior has a baroque aspect with a basilica plan (photo 3), with a transept and apse.

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3. Amalfi – Inside of  Duomo

The crypt (photo 4) is in late Mannerist style and is adorned with splendid frescoes and marble decorations that make the space very suggestive. Inside the crypt the relics of Saint Andrew, disciple of Jesus, are preserved. Under the altar there is a crystal ampoule where, on the eve of the feast of the Saint or on other special occasions, the “manna”, a thick liquid that exudes from the apostle’s sepulcher, is collected.

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4. Amalfi – The crypt of the Duomo

Ravello

From Piazza Flavio Gioia at Amalfi buses depart for the nearby Ravello with a good frequency. In about half an hour you can reach one of the most beautiful and panoramic villages of the entire Amalfi coast. When you reach the end of line, pass the tunnel and enter in Ravello, a truly suggestive village with its amazing lemon-scented alleys.

In the center of the village stands the Duomo (photo 5) dedicated to Assumption of the Virgin Mary and St. Pantaleone.

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5. Ravello – The Duomo

However, the real pride of the town is Villa Cimbrone, today a private structure used as a hotel but which can nevertheless be visited easily.

From its belvedere, known as the “Terrace of Infinity” (photo 6), you can enjoy one of the most evocative panoramas of the entire Amalfi coast. The spectacle that can be enjoyed from this splendid and incomparable balcony, adorned with eighteenth-century marble busts, seems something truly infinite, and the view here can range up to the mountains of Cilento.

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6. Ravello – The “Terrace of Infinity”

The park of the villa is very beautiful (photo 7), rich in vegetation and adorned with sculptures, fountains and caves.

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7. The park of Villa Cimbrone

The officiale website of Villa Cimbrone is here.

Positano

Positano ia an authentic jewel of the coast, a real gem that lies along the characteristic marina, with intricate alleys that climb up to the upper part of the town.

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8. The marina of Positano

 

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9. Alleys at  Positano

The presence of foreign tourists is very large, especially Americans, who particularly love this strip of land so incredibly full of charm.

Positano is also a privileged point to enjoy panoramic views of incredible beauty that have few equals in the world.

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10. One of the many panoramic views at Positano

Emerald Grotto

A little more than 10 km from Positano, halfway from Amalfi, you can visit the small but suggestive “Emerald Grotto” (photo 11), known for the incredible beauty of the light which, reflecting in the water, takes on a colour green-emerald. It is preferable to visit it between 12 a.m. and 2 p.m., that is when the sun prenetrates in the grotto with its best light.

Other information can be found here.

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11. Emerald Grotto

Sorrento

Sorrento is not part of the Amalfi Coast; however, those who visit this part of Italy will hardly miss a visit to this town so characteristic and known all over the world.

Sorrento is a great charm place, neat, clean, with a large presence of foreign tourists who have always loved Sorrento.

You have to see the characteristic and narrow streets of the town that are full of shops selling local products such as oil and “limoncello“, a typical lemon liqueur mainly producted in this territory.

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12. Sorrento/1
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13. Sorrento/2

You have to visit the Cathedral (photo 14) dedicated to Saints Philip and James with a neo-Gothic facade.

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14. Duomo of Sorrento

The interior has three naves (photo 15) decorated in a very rich Baroque style. In the first chapel of the right aisle you can admire a great value Baptistery (photo 16) where the famous writer and poet Torquato Tasso, the author of “Jerusalem Delivered“, was baptized.

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15. Inside of the Duomo of Sorrento
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16. The Baptisery in Duomo of Sorrento

Finally, the beautiful Villa Comunale, from which you can enjoy the splendid panorama of the Gulf and the beaches built on stilts (photo 17), and the nearby cloister of San Francis from the 14th century (photo 18).

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17. The panorama of Sorrento from Villa Comunale
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18. The cloister of St. Francis at Sorrento

Other towns are worth a visit, especially for the beautiful views and even for a nice swim.

We can mention Cetara (photo 19) but above all Vietri sul Mare, a town known for its ceramic work. You have to see “The two brothers” (photo 20), a couple of rocks a few meters from the shore that hide a beautiful but dramatic legend (to find out more about the legend, click here, on my instagram profile).

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19. Cetara
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20. Vietri sul Mare – “The two brothers”

How to organize the visit

One of the most difficult aspects to face when you travel on the Amalfi Coast and at Sorrento is how to conduct a visit without particular stress, without getting lost in the traffic queues, with the problems of parking the cars and with the possible profiteers of tourists. It should be added that from summer 2020 cars can circolate every other day, a circumstance that may further complicate the organization of the trip.

There are two very comfortable ways, alternative to the car, to visit the area without particular worries.

The first, more expensive but very characteristic, is the use of the ferry that makes stops in all the ports of the coastal towns, from Salerno to Sorrento (in some cases it may be necessary to make a change). Ferries have a good frequency: for reference, timetables and prices can be found here.

A possible alternative, less suggestive, less comfortable but certainly very cheap, is the bus. They travel frequently and make stops in all coastal towns. Not recommended for those suffering from car sickness. The timetables can be found here (only in italian).

Ravello is different because is not on the sea and therefore cannot be reached by ferry. To reach Ravello it is necessary to stop in the central Piazza Flavio Gioia at Amalfi from where regular buses leave for Ravello (about 30 minutes). The tickets, very cheap, can be purchased in the nearby tobacconist’s shop in the square. Private buses are also available with more comfortable and personalized services but which are obviously more expensive (prices from 5.00 euros upwards per person each way).

For those who want to venture with their own car, I suggest these parking lots.

At Sorrento, I suggest the “Parking Sorrento” (find it here). With a very affordable price (2 euros per hour) you can leave your car and be five minutes walk from the city center.

At Positano, if you park your car it is easy to spend a lot of money. There are no free parking spaces (also because there are not enough spaces) and therefore it is necessary to leave your car in one of the many paid parking spaces along the path that leads from the main road down to the town. The cost can even reach 8 euros per hour. Therefore the car must be parked only if necessary and for the time strictly necessary for the visit.

At Amalfi there are numerous paid parking lots. Find a good description here.

At Ravello there are not parking problems, simply because there are none. The only way to reach the town is by bus from Amalfi.