Amalfi Coast

Stretching about 50km along the southern side of the Sorrentine Peninsula, most famous for the town of Sorrento, the Amalfi Coast (Costiera Amalfitana) is one of Europe’s most breathtaking. Cliffs terraced with scented lemon groves sheer down into sparkling seas; whitewashed villas cling precariously to unforgiving slopes while sea and sky merge in one vast blue horizon.

Positano is the coast's most expensive and photogenic town and Amalfi itself if a popular day-trip option, with the town of Ravello perched high on a hill looking down over it. Even Salerno, though mainly useful as a transport hub, has a lovely old town with winding medieval streets.

For centuries after the passing of Amalfi’s glory days as a maritime superpower (from the 9th to the 12th centuries), the area was poor and its isolated villages regular victims of foreign incursions, earthquakes and landslides. But it was this very isolation that first drew visitors in the early 1900s, paving the way for the advent of tourism in the latter half of the century. Today the Amalfi Coast is one of Italy’s top tourist destinations, a favourite of well-to-do jet-setters and couples seeking romance.