From Positano to Vietri
Hair-raising bends and breathtaking views: fifty kilometers you'll never forget!
When trying to imagine a little corner of paradise, a place far from the traffic and the frenzied pace of modern daily life, the Amalfi Coast might easily come to mind.
A stretch of coast which leads from Positano to Vietri sul Mare, lapped by the waters of a strikingly azure blue sea and sheltered by imposing rocks. The coastal road snakes in a succession of sinuous curves through a dreamlike landscape, offering a series of truly breathtaking views.
The towns and villages of the Amalfi Coast share a common urban structure; the houses, tiny chapels, and sumptuous churches of the historic centers located in the highest part of town, linked to the beach and harbors below by a series of steps and steep, narrow lanes.
Our journey follows the panoramic SS163 highway, also known as the Nastro Azzurro or Blue Ribbon; important thoroughfare of circa 50km in length which starts at Vietri sul Mare in the province of Salerno and terminates in the town of Meta, from where the journey proceeds along the SS145 Sorrentina highway.
Along the route there are numerous lay-bys positioned on the cliff edge directly above the sea, where drivers can stop for a moment to admire the incredible scenery.
First town on the itinerary is that of Positano, a stunningly picturesque town which appears before the visitor like a traditional Neapolitan nativity scene carved into the hillside; the little white cottages clinging precariously to the rock face amidst the vibrant red and purple tones of the bougainvillea.
The main beaches of Positano are those of Spiaggia Grande and Fornillo, both of which can be easily reached by foot.
The popularity of this exclusive holiday destination has continued to grow over the years, in part due to the highly acclaimed 'Moda Positano'.
Specialising in colorful beachwear in macramé and napped cotton, leather sandals and accessories, all displayed in the town's numerous boutiques and craftsmen's workshops; in recent years the Moda Positano has been the subject of endless imitations.
Shortly after Positano, one comes to Praiano; a small town which, during the period of the Marine Republics was under the rule of Amalfi. Natural beauty, simplicity and authenticity are the characteristics of this little town of some two thousand inhabitants, nestled between the sea and the cliff face.
Praiano is situated, like the other coastal towns, on impervious terrain largely unsuitable for the cultivation of crops. Any cultivable land has been obtained thanks to the creation of a series of terraces scratched into the hillside, and today home to olive and citrus trees, interspersed with the occasional chilli plant.
After Praiano the coastal road proceeds towards the minuscule villages of Furore and Conca dei Marini.
Furore is also known as 'the painted town' due to the presence of numerous murals which adorn the rock face. The coastal area of Furore is born from a magnificent fiord, unique in Italy.
Visitors to the area should not fail to taste the refreshing Limoncello drink, obtained from the succulent lemons of the Amalfi Coast. Other highly prized liquors, such as the highly prized Nocillo and Fragolino, are made from the various fruits, berries and aromatic herbs which grow in the area.
Just outside the town and a mere 4 kilometers from Amalfi, lies Conca dei Marini; ancient fishing village, famous for it's 'Emerald Cave', situated in an inlet not far from the town's small beach.
Above the beach soars a tower erected in the 1500's and which, like the other towers dotted along this stretch of coast, for centuries served to defend these shores from attack by pirates and enemy fleets. The traditional white houses tightly hug the rock face whilst the Church of St Antonio and its impressive bell tower entirely faced in majolica, rise skywards from a garden of olive, lemon and carob trees. Below, once more on the SS163, one finds the equally attractive Church of San Pancrazio.
Travelling along a section of road characterised by a series of curves and dramatic hairpin bends, one spies Amalfi; one of the world's most celebrated destinations. Numerous the sites of architectural and artistic importance to be found in this, the oldest of Italy's four Maritime Republics: where around each and every corner of each and every street one is greeted by breathtakingly romantic views.
The historic center, is dominated by the majestic Cathedral, dedicated to the patron saint, Andrea. The impressive bronze cathedral doors were realized in Constantinople in 1065 and were donated to the town by a particularly affluent merchant of Amalfi. To visit, the Diocesan Museum and the Chiostro del Paradiso.
Shortly after Amalfi, via a slight detour, one finds oneself on the road which leads to Ravello; the town known also as the 'City of Music' in virtue of the annual International Musical festival held here and dedicated to the great German composer Wagner, celebrated habitué the town. Not to be missed; the walk which leads to Villa Cimbrone, with its belvedere over the Gulf of Salerno, a view immortalised by the writer Gore Vidal who described it as 'the most beautiful in the world'.
To reach Minori, town rich in history and traditions, it is necessary to return to the SS163. The town was highly considered in Roman period, as testified by the numerous artefacts held in the Roman Villa dating back to the 1st century B.C. The art, history, and gastronomy of the town have fuelled the gradual expansion of tourism here. In the neorealist years immediately following the 2nd world war, Minori was chosen by Roberto Rossellini as the set for a number of his films: Paisan, Voyage to Italy, The Miracle, La Macchina Ammazzacattivi: films in which a great number of local people participated.
The last town of the Amalfi Coast is Vietri sul Mare, an ancient Etruscan settlement and today an important holiday destination, famous worldwide for the production of ceramics and majolica. In 1997 Vietri sul Mare, Amalfi, and the Amalfi Coast were declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
Hotels in the area
From € 169.00
Vietri sul Mare
From € 207.00