Category: Amalfi Coast

Italy’s Amalfi Coast: a place like no other

Some say it’s the most beautiful place on earth. And there’s no argument here.

The Costiera Amalfitano, or Amalfi Coast of southern Italy, is widely regarded as a place like no other.

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Photo courtesy Pexels

A 50-kilometre stretch along the southern edge of Italy’s Sorrentine Peninsula, the Amalfi Coast is a swirl of breathtakingly-beautiful cliffs, beaches, glamorous resorts, villas, vineyards, lemon groves and pastel-coloured fishing villages.

And, the amazing road that connects it all is also a marvel in its own right.

The Nastro Azzurro, or Blue Ribbon – described by many as the most spectacular road in Europe –  precariously winds and twists its way through this gorgeous landscape: with its edges sometimes only inches from a precipitous drop to the Mediterranean.

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Photo courtesy Dangerous Roads website

Even if you have never visited the Amalfi Coast, you are probably still familiar with the area, as its colourful resorts – that cling like limpets to the cliffs – have been the backdrop to countless films, including Under The Tuscan Sun; A Good Woman; Only You; and Beat The Devil.

Positano

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Copyright: Memorable Destination

The most sparkling and best known of the coastal towns, Positano boasts a superb setting.

We were left speechless by the scenery. Positano’s buildings almost seem to be tumbling down the steep hillside.

This slice of heaven also offers boutique hotels, an attractive central beach and meandering lanes and streets lined with restaurants and shops.

Sue particularly loves the many Positano shops that specialise in selling brightly-coloured linen.

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Copyright: Memorable Destination

Amalfi and Capri

The town of Amalfi is another picture-postcard jewell, known largely for its striking cathedral, the Duomo di Sant’Andrea,  or the Cathedral of St Andrew – founded in the ninth century.

Once a powerful maritime republic to rival Venice and Genoa, the shores at Amalfi are, these days, better known for moving human cargo – visitors making the short trip to the glamorous Isle of Capri, where the rich and famous mingle and the coast features huge spurs of rock known as the Faraglionj.

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Within metres of Capri’s southern coast, these spurs rise out of the sea, throwing eerie shadows across a shoreline that also features famous grottos bathed in blue and white light.

Capri is a stunningly beautiful island that is well worth the time exploring thoroughly.

Ravello

About 20 minutes from Amalfi, high above the mountains, is the town of Ravello, where views of the coast are rivalled only by historic buildings and famous gardens.

Ravello has long attracted artists, musicians, craftsmen and authors from all over the world. The town also features outstanding gardens – notably those of the Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone – excellent art galleries and craft stores selling everything from cashmere to ceramics.

World Heritage listing

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Photo courtesy Pexels

The awesome beauty of the Amalfi Coast is, of course, made all the more remarkable by the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean and the green swath of its mountain backdrop.

And it’s not only the hordes of travellers and visitors who are enthralled by this stunning part of Italy’s Campania region.

Since 1997, the Amalfi Coast has been on the World Heritage list, after UNESCO deemed it an “outstanding example of a Mediterranean landscape”.

Getting there

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The Amalfi Coast is about 287 kilometres south of Rome.

We believe the best time to visit is from April to June, when the spring flowers are in bloom.

Take the train to Naples and from there you can take the Circumvesuviana train to Sorrento. From Sorrento you can take a SITA bus to anywhere along the coast.

If you’re headed to the town of Amalfi, you may want to take the train to Salerno and then the bus.

Don’t forget the Limoncello

In recent years, the Amalfi Coast has also become well known for Limoncello, a locally-produced lemon liquer whose fame has quickly spread around the world.

Limoncello: nectar of a wonderful land

Italy’s magnificent Sorrentine peninsula, Amalfi Coast and Isle of Capri are some of the most beautiful places on earth.

With astonishing scenery; picture-postcard towns and villages; and a gentle laid-back lifestyle, this part of the Campania region of southern Italy is largely unspoilt, despite its appeal to travellers.

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And, in recent years, the area has also become well known for Limoncello, a locally-produced lemon liquer whose fame has quickly spread around the world.

On our last visit to Campania, we sampled Limoncello before and after meals and were told that, traditionally, it was made from the zest of the Femminello St. Teresa lemon – also known as Sorrento or Sfusato lemon.

Put simply, lemon zest, or peels without the pith, is enriched by water, alcohol, sugar and syrup.

The process takes about three months and we were told that varying the sugar-to-water ratio and the temperature affects the clarity and flavor.

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A popular ingredient in cocktails, Limoncello gives a strong lemon flavor without the sourness or bitterness of pure lemon juice.

In typical Italian fashion, there seems to be a debate about the origin of the popular liquer, depending on who you ask – and where.

We were told that Limoncello was first made about 1900 on the Isle of Capri, that jewel of an island much beloved by the rich and famous.

However, ask that same question on the Amalfi Coast, and you are likely to hear that the liquer is actually much older – possibly first used by fishermen to fortify themselves against the cold.

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Yet others, are convinced that the recipe was actually born inside a monastic convent.

But, regardless of Limoncello’s origins, sales of the liquor – with its unique taste and the aroma – has grown like Topsy.

It is is also produced in Sicily; Sardinia; the Maltese island of Gozo; several other places in Italy; and even in France and the United States.

Limoncello is the second most popular liquer in Italy and is also a big seller in the US; Canada; the United Kingdom; Australia and New Zealand, to name a just a few areas.

We were told that the lemons of southern Italy are particularly good for making Limoncello, because the Mediterranean climate produces fruit with a thick and colourful skin.

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So …. do we recommend Limoncello? Without hesitation.

And, for us, the liquer is just another reason to visit a particularly stunning part of the planet.
Photo attributions: Lemons courtesy Wikimedia Commons photo by user BigFan; homemade Limoncello courtesy Wikimedia Commons photo by user Alejo2083.

Favourite romantic spots

There’s no doubt about it: travel can be romantic regardless of your age.

And here’s some of our favourite romantic destinations:

1.Venice, Italy – if romance has an ideal backdrop, this is it. Venice seems to emit a romantic energy. No wonder it is known as the City of Honeymoons.

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2. ‘El Maresme’, Catalunya – the dreamy coastline north of Barcelona.

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3. Florence, Italy – a living, breathing marvel

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4. Gower, Wales – a magical, mystical place. Wander among the castles and standing stones and feel the presence of the great romantic writers.

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5. Paris, France  –  synonymous with romance.

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6. Scotland – land of wonders

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7. Sorrento/Amalfi Coast, Italy – an amazing part of the planet

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8. The Swiss Alps – stunning alpine scenery, romantic islands and sweeping lakes.

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9. Rome, Italy – sights like the Trevi Fountain will live in your soul forever.

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10. The heart of grand old London – romantic in a special way.

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11. Dock of the bay, Copenhagen, Denmark – who could fail to love this romantic city and its wonderful people.

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12.The Cornish coastline, UK – lose yourself amid rugged beauty, whitewashed villages and glittering streams.

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13. Waterside New York City – serenity amid the excitement of one of world’s great cities.

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14. Isle of Capri, Italy – this beautiful place is not one of the world’s great honeymoon destinations for nothing.

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15. Legendary Pacific Coast, Australia – sunset over Alstonville Cottages, New South Wales.

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16. Horse and carriage ride, Vienna, Austria – a romantic way to see the historic heart of a lovely city

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17. Prague, Czech Republic – a romantic city steeped in history

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18. Utah’s national parks, US – the Coyote Buttes

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19. Denham, Buckinghamshire, UK – a romantic village of intense colours

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20. Niagara Falls, US – the ideal place to elope.

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21. Gold Hill, Shaftsbury, Dorset, UK – one of the world’s great romantic scenes

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22. The Great Ocean Road, Australia – the romantic lure of nature

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