| Descriptions of Amalfi Coast | Shopping | Local Markets | Walking along the Amalfi Coast |
| Gardens of the Campania Region | Beaches & Bathing | Local festivities & public holidays |
| Sight – seeing | Public transportations |
Descriptions of Amalfi Coast
Amalfi, and its particular coast, is considered perhaps the most beautiful part of Italy. It is a quiet and picturesque seaside resort with a temperate climate and incomparable natural beauties.
Amalfi, originally Roman, was the first Sea Republic of Italy. After the fall of the Roman Empire, it was the first city to re-establish relationship between East and West by transporting and introducing into Italy exotic merchandise such as carpets, coffee and paper. Amalfi had its own coin (The Tarì) and was the home of Flavio Gioia, the inventor of the compass, and gave the navigators the famous maritime law known known as “Tabula de Amalpha”.
Below follow some suggestions about the places to visit:
The Duomo, built about the 6th century and dedicated to St.Andrew the Apostle whose remains are kept in the crypt;
• The Cloister of Paradise, set beside the Duomo, that was built the 13th century in Arabian style;
• The Paper Museum, where we can see the tools used over the centuries for making paper by hand;
• The Emerald Grotto, a fantastic green temple full of figures, caryatids and bas-reliefs formed by dripping water from the vaulted ceiling, over the thousand of years. An interesting feature: the underwater pottery crib.
The “Paper Museum” at Amalfi
Amalfi lies between the Valle dei Mulini and the sea. It’s the great stage on which one of world’s most famous histories unfolded, the Marine Republique of Amalfi, which illuminated the Mediterranean with grandiose enterprises.
That small space enclosed by the harsh Monti Lattari also earned another claim to fame for the production of hand made paper. There are no official documents to enable us to determine how far back the first production system appeared, but it was presumably around the first half of the XII century.
The people of Amalfi had learned the paper production techniques from the Arabs, indeed they called it “carta bambagina” from the name of the Arab Town El Mambig, though another school of thought believes that name is associated with “bambagia” (cotton wool).
Many foreigners, attracted by the quality of the product, came to Naples to have their works printed on Amalfi paper. It is not possible to establish just how many paper mills there were in Valle dei Mulini.
This museum is housed in an old paper mill that dates back to XIV century (approx).
Today in the paper mill turned museum we can see the tools used over the centuries for making paper by hand. There are the old wooden mallets, operated by a hydraulic wheel, which used to beat and mash rags of linen, cotton and hemp, previously gathered in the mighty “stone beaters”. The mixture obtained was lifted from the beater with special wooden scoops and placed in the vat where it diluted with water. The vat was composed of a tank, lined on the inside with majolica, high enough to allow the operator the most comfortable standing position. The operator would immerse in the vat a frame, the bottom of which was made of a wire screen with fine mesh, and collect a certain amount of pulp, distributing it evenly over the screen. .
After the water had drained off, a thin layer of pulp was left.
The “sheet” was then placed on a “couch” of woollen felt and covered with another felt.
Many “sheets”, piled up with the same procedure, were then placed under a press to eliminate the water residue. There is one such press in the museum, still in working order, dating back to the XVII century. After the sheets had been pressed, the operator removed them and placed them one on the top of the other, creating to so called “post”. The “posts” were then transferred to the drying room to be died in the air.
The sheets were then treated with a solution of an animal gelatin and smoothed by hand, after accurate quality selection.
But the various level of the paper mill also present some more “modern” aspects.
Ravello is a small city of ancient origin, which faces a range of hills overlooking the clear blue sea of the Gulf of Salerno, like a balcony.
Under this balcony the other wonders of this coast are unequalled. The beauty of this area has inspired poets, painters and musicians in the course of its millenarian history. It was here that Wagner stayed and was inspired by the magical beauties of the Villa Rufolo, its gardens and architectural works of the Cloisters to exclaim the “Garden of Klingsor” is found.
Boccaccio, a long time before him, spoke of Ravello, a town rich in monuments, in the stories of Decameron dedicated to the “merchant” for Ravello, Landolfo Rufolo and his travels around the world.
Ravello with its arches and antique towers, the splendid scenery of the clear skies and sea, such as that of the beautiful view from the Villa Cimbrone, is very protective towards its treasure of art. For example, the 11th Century Bronze Doors of Barisano da Trani, the precious pulpit ornate with mosaic lions conserved in the cathedral in which you can admire the other precious treasures.
The wine that is produced in Ravello is one of the better wines as is the climate and character of its people.
Villa Cimbrone was originally built for the aristocratic Accongiagioco family in the 19th century. By pure chance, it was discovered by an Englishman whose servant, Nicola Mansi, was born in Ravello.
The land contained a very modest dwelling when Ernest William Beckett, later Lord Grimthorpe, acquired it in 1904. The enthusiasm of the Mansis (made resident custodians by Beckett), and the love of Italian classicism by the Englishman, soon transformed the property into a delightful folly.
Inspired by the daughter of Lord Grimthorpe, another charming Villetta was constructed on the cliff edge with incomparable views over the whole coast and surrounding area.
Villa Rufolo reached the height of its glory in the reign of Charles 1 of Angio, King of Naples from 1266 to 1285. At this time the Rufolo family had within its ranks a Bishop, John James and Matthew - Royal bankers, and Lawrence, a governor in Abruzzo.
During the last century a Scotsman and botanist, Francis Neville Reid, bought the property and restored it. Subsequently the Villa has been acquired by the Provincial Tourist Board and the Wagner Commemorative concerts are held here each summer.
Positano is one of the pearls of the Amalfi Coast. It rises on rocks, which characterise the whole area and make the landscape particulary suggestive thanks to the various forms that nature has created.
The town lies on terraced land, immersed in a green landscape and looking out on a particulary blue sea.
Its picturesque position, mild climate and natural beauty have made this town a very well known tourist spot.
When you visit Positano do not miss the colourful boutiques with the well – known “Positano Mode”
High above Positano stands the little village of Montepertuso (hole mountain). The houses. Set among olive groves, filbert trees and terraced vineyards, grasp at footholds on the steep flanks of the mountain. Bedside the town a deep ravine plunges to the sea. Across the ravine looms a sheer brown shoulder of rock. Plunged so cleanly through it that it seem artificial, a natural arch in the rock lets through a semi circle of improbable blue sky. On the 2nd July the towns people celebrate the festival of the mountain, the miraculous result, they say, of a contest between the Holy virgin and the devil.
The gorge at Furore
This is a large gorge cut into the rock, dug out by a torrent, with scanty waters coming down from the tableland of Agerola. The rocks steeply sloping down, the roar of the sea in the gorge, the deep shadow, the contrast created by the different and fantastic colours of the landscape makes this valley a very charming corner.
Here we find a most particular set of houses, just five or six gathered on a steep slope and crossed by winding steps, appearing like a miniature village. If you are fortunate enough to pass the gorge at night when it is lit up you would be forgiven in thinking you had stumbled upon a lavish theatrical set.
By climbing the flight of steps from the Valle dei Mulini you will arrive in Pontone Minuto. The infamous Queen Giovanna of Naples was beheaded in Tower of the Ziro
To reach Pogerola, there is a 15 minutes bus ride from the seafront in Amalfi. You may wish to visit the church of Santa Maria and then stop for lunch. You may either catch the bus back to Amalfi or walk down the public footpath from the Piazza. The walk will take you about 40 minutes.
Prince Sicardo of Salerno built in Maiori in the 9th Century. Today it survives though tourism, and growing wines and lemons. It is a pretty town and the people are very friendly. There are many good restaurants and bars. Maiori has the longest beach of the coastline. “The lungomare” which has a lovely promenade. The main church of Maiori is dedicated to Santa Maria a Mare and the Patron Saint’s day takes place on 14th, 15th, and 16th August. Corso Reginna is the main shopping street of the town and here you will find food shops, boutiques, a chemist, ect.
Atrani is a quiet but picturesque situated in a gorge between two mountains, about two hundred meters from Amalfi.
In Medieval times, Atrani formed an important part of the famous Maritime Republic of Amalfi being the residence of noble and prominent citizens.
Today Atrani is a simple fishing village where the winding streets remain true to character and largely unchanged.
Vietri sul Mare
Situated at just 3km from Salerno, the town of Vietri sul Mare marks the beginning of the Amalfi Coast. The higher part of the town has fine views of Salerno and a winding road sweeps down to the beach and Marina of Vietri below.
Although the origins of the town are Etruscan, it first became commercially important in Roman times, owing to its trade in fishing.
Since the middle ages, Vietri has been famous for its production of ceramics. It achieved its greatest prosperity in 1700 when the town possessed some 50 furnaces. Today the visitor can choose from an extensive selection of ceramic pieces ranging from miniature bottles and coffee sets to animal statuettes.
Minori it’s a delightful centre of the Amalfi Coast, a miracle of harmony and natural beauty.
This village will charm you at first sight, with its houses huddled either side of the river Regina Minor, that snakes down the valley, with its profusion of lemon groves cultivated on terraces.
You will discover a world full of history within the churches, antique manor houses and the old mills dotted about in the web of tiny alleyways.
You’ll still find flavours of a long time past in the religious processions, in the devotional songs, in the sheer poetry of the land and the sea, in the patience of the workers of the land and the fishermen here.
The choices available to any tourist here are articulate and varied, but special interest must be paid to archaeological, gastronomic and religious traditions.
“A taste of Minori” (Gusta Minori)
Minori relives, for a whole week in the first half of September, its own traditions and antique flavours during an event, which celebrates above all the gastronomic traditions of the entire Amalfi Coast. It is an event open to tourists and locals alike.
The narrow streets of the town are on display intertwined with a display of local crafts and skills, which also involves the contributions of local housewives, cooks, fishermen, and farmers.
The whole community relives and enacts forgotten pages of our history.
It is, in fact a gastronomic event of high quality at an international level. The entire population engages in friendly competition to show off the cultural traditions of the town, including pasta making for which Minori has been renowned since medieval times, culminating in the invention in the 17th century of the “NGIEGNI” ( a device which increased pasta production to industrial levels).
Minori became a sort of open factory, with every space, public or private, that had the right ventilation being transformed into a permanent display of all types of pasta hung out for the drying process. Even on the limited sea front promenade, which today offers a cool sea breeze and welcome shade, the more traditional forms of pasta were set out to dry; the ‘Ndunderi, Cocce, Cannarocini, Maccaroni, Vermicelli and Tagliarelli (all types of traditional pasta).
The town was in fact the shop window of Minoris’ pasta makers, who mixed grain from the plains of Sele and Cilento with the water from the river Reginna Minor.
And so, September is Minori is a great feast and Minori displays all its tradition at their best, starting with its gastronomy, mixed together with art, literature to present a dish sampled by Italian and European gourmets.
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Shopping, along the Amalfi Coast, means picking up local products and handicrafts from each little village, looking around the small markets and hidden shops in the narrow streets.
Fashion in Positano
For more than 30 years Positano’s fashion has been renowned, especially for its beach wear. This fashion is connected to the tourism that promotes it. Fashion is inspired by fantasy, creativity and taste governed by rigid aesthetic rules.
The tissuen, linen, crepe de chine, silk and crepe – georgette, cotton are always natural. The colours are white and yellow like the sun, green like the Monti Lattari , the nuances of the sunset, the blue of the sea and the sky.
Shops are around the main square “Piazza Mulini” and on the lanes running down to the sea front. There are many handmade shoes and sandals sold in the small artisan shops.
Handmade paper in Amalfi
The delicious handicraft of Amalfi is represented by the handmade paper of the Chinese origin. For a long time Amalfi has been considered one of the first centre of diffusion of paper in Italy. Today only two paper factories are left: one which produces essentially paper for prestigious publications and letter paper; the other which produces packing paper.
The famous “Sfumato Amalfitano”, is today used not only as a refreshing drink, but also to produce cakes and for the elixir named limoncello. The local shopping area in Amalfi is in the main Piazza Duomo and in the narrow streets situated behind it.
Coral and Ceramics
A famous handicraft of Ravello is, along with the ceramic are, the coral, fished by specialised divers in the sea of the coast. The local goldsmiths are able to create from this “red gold” beautiful jewels, necklaces and cameos. Ceramic shops and tiny coral factories are around the main square in Ravello. The shopping street is also in Via Roma.
Opening hours: 09.30 –13.00 hours and 17.00 – 20.30 hours. Shops stay open later in high season often until 23.00 hours in July – August.
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Ravello and Amalfi
The local craft in both Ravello and Amalfi is ceramics. You will find a large selection varying from souvenir tiles to hand-made dinner services. Amalfi is also well known for its hand – made paper.
Sorrento has been famous for many years for the local craft or inlaid woodwork or marquetry. You can buy beautiful musical boxes, coffee tables, pictures and many other pieces. In the 16th century, several master carpenters from Sorrento were already executing the inlaying of wood on choir boxes for Neapolitan churches and furniture for the noble palaces. The industry has really grown important since the beginning of the last century. Until then the most important craft was weaving. The promoter of the upsurge of the marquetry as an industry was a Sorrentine cabinetmaker called Antonio Damora who in 1825 summoned to Naples to work on the restoration of the furniture of the Royal Palace. Upon his return to Sorrento he taught what he had learnt during his experience in Naples to his colleagues. Consequently numerous cabinetmakers’ shops opened around the old town centre. At first, marquetry, was closely tied to wood engravings and decorations reproducing Pompeian and classic motifs. Later the Neapolitan artist Filippo Palazzi influenced the style and engravings became more realistic. The development of the industry led to the replacement of the engravings by pen drawings, which reduced the work time. In the same context, the Art school of Sorrento was instituted in 1886. Since 1940 craftsmen began to represent landscapes. Finally a machine was invented for mosaics which had gradually been improved upon. Today, marquetry constitutes one of the mainstays of the local economy.
Torre del Greco
For many years the local craft in Torre del Greco has been coral and cameo work. The price of each piece depends upon the quality of the coral / cameo and the workmanship of the engraving. You can admire an interesting demonstration of cameo making at the small jewellery shop of Bimonte in Via R. Giuliana 62, Sorrento.
The art of cameos
The cameo, whose origins date back to 600BC, is an engraving in bas-relief. It was originally engraved on hard stone, and after the disappearance of this stone, on conch shells. The main types of shell are as follows:
- Cornilian shell
Reddish orange background. White creamish carved figure.
- Sardonic shell
Dark brown background. Pure creamish carved figure.
- Mother of pearl
Dark white background. Iridescent grey carved figure.
- Rosaline shell
Pale pink background. Pure white carved figure.
It’s also possible to find cameo engravings on coral, malachite and precious stone.
The local artisan school is the best in the world. The art of engraving is passed on from father to son, generation to generation, leaving the ancient technique of engraving intact through time.
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WALKING ALONG THE AMALFI COAST
Not only Amalfi is well known for its beauty and vicinity to many archaeological sites, but also for its many undiscovered walks and hidden places off the beaten track.
For those interested in exploring the hills around their particular resorts, there are two excellent books on sale:
“Landscape of Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast”
Written by Julian Tippett, available from libraries and bookshops in Amalfi, Positano and Ravello. Approx. cost is € 15,00.
This book covers a wide area from Amalfi, Atrani, Pogerola and Ravello. It is a small flimsy book, which is easy to fold and carry. Walks starts from 45min long to five – hour walks and each has a step by step guide easy for anyone to follow! It even gives you the effort rating of each walk so that you know what to expect!
“The Ravello Itinerary”
Written by Adinolfi and Amato, available from most souvenir shops in Ravello. Approx. cost is € 13,00.
This book, on the other hand, covers only Ravello and the surrounding area perfect for those staying in Ravello. The book includes lovely black and white photos of some of the views you see on your wanders. Could make an interesting gift to take home.
The majority of all walks along the coastline are steps most of the way, so very comfortable shoes or trainers are needed, as is a hat and a bottle water in the hot weather! Bear in mind walking down steps can be just as much an effort as walking up!
The best time of year for walking is from the beginning of April until end of June and then from the beginning of September until the end of October, when the sun is not at its hottest.
A camera must to capture all those unique views that most visitors never see!
Follow the alleyway to the left of the gates to the Villa Rufolo and you will come to some steps. Keep heading down and to the left. There are approx. 1100 steps to climb down. The views are stunning. When you reach a fork in the path, the right name should be Via Marmorata, take the left fork, which will take you into Minori.
Walk down Corso Regina past the shops to the first road on the left which leads to the main church, Santa Maria a Mare. Walk up to the steps and carry on going up until you pass over the mountain of Minori. The walks should take you around 40 mins to an hour. At 150m after leaving the Church of Saint Trofimena, you will find a typical basalt stairway, which will take you to the village of “Torre”. Here there is a small square from which you can admire the Minori landscape and where it is possible to drink pure spring water from the “little fountain”. During your walk, you can admire the lemon trees cultivated on terraces which have been wrenched from the mountain rocks thanks to the work of the Minori farmers. Another obligatory stop is at the small church of Saint Michael of Torre, which dates from the 17th century.
Minori/ Torre / S. Nicola
Once you get up to Torre, instead of taking the path to Maiori, turn left and go straight until you reacj the 12th century Convent, which is today dedicated to the cult of Saint Nicholas. On going up towards the convent you will notice the change from terraces cultivated with lemon trees to chestnut and pine trees. Stop and enjoy the peace that reigns in this beautiful place. On your way back, cross the zone known as “San Gineto” amd thus you will come to Annunziata Bell Tower which dates from the 11th century and is a typical example of the Tyrrhenian style.
Minori / Auriola/ Sambuco / Ravello
Going up “Via Pioppi” you will find yourself in front of an ancient papermill in disuse. Going along by the side and up a very long flight of steps you will come to Auriola, which is a green plain taken from “Regina Minor”. Going up again, nor far from the river bed you will see again terraces cultivated with lemon trees which is a sign that you have arrived at the village of Sambuco and a little further up. To the town of Ravello.
Minori / Villa Amena / Torello / Ravello
Just near the ASCOM branch headquarters of Minori (Vicolo S. Lucia, 3) is the beginning of an alley called “S. Lucia” from the presence of an ex convent. This is today dedicated to the Holy Patron Saint of Eyesight. Just after this church, on going up several flights of steps one reaches the village of Villa Amena, where it’s possible to admire the ancient churches dedicated to Saint Gennaro and The Madonna delle Grazie. Going up towards the village of Torello, one comes to Ravello. Come back down the steps amongst the olive trees of Ravello’s cemetery.
Some tips for walkers.
What to take
Weather protection: carry a waterproof and warm clothing suitable for time of year.
Hat: needed for protection from the sun in high season.
Footwear: trainers or rubber soled shoes are ideal for most walks.
Drinking water: carry an ample supply to avoid dehydration especially in hot weather.
Keep to recognised trails and paths.
Do not walk alone.
Carry a mobile phone if possible.
Tell someone where you are going and keep to this plan.
Do not take risks.
Respect the countryside
Do not light fires.
Do not uproot saplings or pick wild flowers.
Do not drop litter.
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Gardens of the Campania Region
In Southern Italy, the climate is suitable for olives, oranges and lemons, and is also favourable for exotic plants/flowers. The soil around Naples (volcanic) is particular rich and fertile, bearing four crops each year, a fact that was certainly appreciated by the Romans.
Lady Walton’s garden on the island of Ischia is well protected and, in the valley with rich alluvial soil from the extinct volcano of Epomeo
At Pompeii, destroyed by the lava in 79 AD, many gardens have been excavated and with help of the frescoes found, some have been reconstructed, even tough there is uncertainty in the plants grown at the time.
In the 18th century Royal Palace at Caserta, one can see the most important architectural garden of the area, modelled on that of the Royal Palace at Versailles-Exploring the village of Ravello along the Amalfi Coast, you can visit the Villa Cimbrone, which is on cliff top promontory, with magnificent views of the coastline and Villa Rufolo where Wagner was inspired to compose the “Parsifal”.
Caserta Royal Palace Gardens including “the English Garden”
Open daily all year from 9.00 - 12.30 hrs palace and gardens 9.00 – 16.30 hrs
The gardens stretch for 3kms (2 miles) behind the great palace displaying green lawns, hornbeam hedges and a cascade of fountains, all arranged in a Baroque French – Style for the Bourbon Spanish King Charles VII to rival the gardens of Versailles. The gardens end up at the 78m (200ft) fountain and basin of Diana and Acteon, where tumbling water falls over massive blocks of stone. Note; the water is brought 50km (31 miles) by aqueduct from Mount Taburno.
The garden and water cascades were designed by Luigi Vanvitelli, who was also responsible for the design of the great rectangular palace between 1752 – 74. The garden was started in 1762 and was completed by Vanvitelli’s son Carlo, in 1779.
The English Garden was laid out during the last part of 1780’s. Adjacent to Vanvitelli’s Baroque garden, it was intended to be a complete contrast, with naturalism as its principle theme. The garden was not only to be for pleasure but also to include exotic trees, fruits and agricultural crops as part of an experimental acclimatisation scheme. One of the first camellias in Europe was planted here.
Today, one can see magnificent magnolia, tulips and camphor trees, palms, eucalyptus, ginkgo’s and nolinas and yuccas, which all take advantage of the site.
LA MORTELLA – WILLIAM WALTON GARDENS, ISCHIA
Open April – October Tue, Thur, and Sat from 9.00 – 17.00 hrs.
Situated just outside the village of Forio on Via E. Calise, a large gate off this dusty lane leads to an oasis of greenery, where spray and bubbling water keep the air humid enough to grow magnificent tree ferns, palms, shrubs and bulbs. La Mortella is not only a garden of lush steep terraced hillside above. One can admire umbrella pines, groves of ilex and arbutus, Italian cypress, bay mirtle’s (from which the name Mortella comes from), Spanish broom, bucktorn, cistu, pistacia, rosemary, cyclamen covering the ground in shade and caper plants in sun cascading out of rocky crevices, plus fountains and pools.
The composer William Walton and his wife, Susana, came here in 1956, starting the garden before they began building the house in 1962. The garden, often a setting for music concerts, is charged with an extraordinary atmospheric beauty.
Villa Cimbrone, Ravello
Open daily April – October, from 9.00 – 17.00 hrs.
A 15 minute walk from Piazza Duomo to Via Santa Chiara, where you will find the site of Villa Cimbrone on a clifftop promontory with the land falling sharply to the Mediterranean below. From the entrance steep steps lead up to an imposing wooden gateway that reveals a view of the Temple of Ceres, the dramatic central axis of the garden.
Today’s air slight neglect and casualness has a pleasing effect, whereas, the 12th century villa had fallen into disrepair, until it was purchased in 1904 by Lord Grimthorpe. He sanctioned it to be resorted by Nicola Mansi in a mixture of styles, including typical Edwardian features – temples, a grotto, a dark pond and winding paths. In 1917 Mansi restored the 14th century cloister, built a neo – Byzantine tea – room and places sculptures throughout the garden.
Open daily April – October, from 9.00 – 13.00 and 15.00 - 17.00 hrs.
Sited just out of the main square of Ravello, this is a garden within a complex of remarkable early building, and has 3 main terraces, of which the last one juts out over the steep valley has a colourful bedding scheme of annuals in format style. The top terrace has exotic evergreens, hedges of euonymus, aucuba, myrtle and fuchsia, all grown in the shade under tall umbrella pines and the middle level on oleander walk frames the view over the coast.
One of the oldest surviving places in Italy, the Villa Rufolo dates from the 13th century, built for the Rufolo family incorporating Saracen and Norman styles. In 1851 it was bought by a Scotsman, Frances Neville Reid, a diplomat in Naples and collector of Roman antiques. Today the villa is occupied by the European University Cultural Centre, but has been visited in the past by Boccaccio whilst in exile from Florence in the 14th century and Wagner in 1880 which inspired him to write the dream of Klingsor’s magic garden for his opera Parsifal.
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Beaches & Bathing
We are sure that as well as taking in the local sights, some of you will want to return home with a lovely Mediterranean suntan. It is important therefore, that especially on the first week of your holiday you can be careful and avoid sunburn by follwing this advice:
because of the nature of the Amalfitana coastline, you will find that some of the beaches are reached by steps. Many beaches are public. You may hire sunbeds, umbrellas and deck chairs. The prices for these are normally displayed at the entrance of the beach. Most beaches also supply fresh water showers and changing cabins.
The beach in Amalfi is mostly public and is situated and is situated at road level. There are a just few steps down and you will find 3 bars along the beach. There are changing cabins, umbrellas and deck chairs for hire. Snacks are available.
Vettica di Amalfi
The beach is called Santa Croce, reached by boat from the Port of Amalfi, near the car park. The Santa Croce beach can also be reached from the main road, approx. 2kms from Amalfi in the direction of Positano. There are about 450 steep steps from the main road to the beach, which can be very tiring. There is a snack bar and restaurant. It is also possible also to hire umbrellas and deck chairs.
You can reach Positano by taking the Sita bus, stopping off at the first stop for Positano. From this point there is about a 25 min walk to Positano’s main beach. There are two beaches in Positano. The main beach, called ‘Fornillo, can be reached by a pathway near the Hotel Covo dei Saraceni. There is a sign indicating the way. Both beaches have part public, part private sections with changing cabins and fresh water showers, and all within reach of restaurants and shops.
The beach here is located below the main road and can be reached by taking the steps down next to the chemist, or you can walk down the road, which takes you to the village. There are no changing facilities or the possibility to hire umbrellas or deck chairs.
Castiglione – Lido di Ravello
The beach is considered the beach of Ravello. It is located about 1km from Amalfi, near Atrani in the direction of Salerno. There are many steep steps to reach the beach from the main road. There is a small snack bar. Changing cabins and sunbeds can be hired. Most of this beach is public.
This beach is mostly private, only a small selection is for public use. Situated on the beach are three beach bars, which hire umbrellas and deck chairs. You can arrive at Minori by taking the blue Sita buses from Amalfi. The beach is at road level so there are no steps to reach public section, and just a few steps from any of the beach bars.
Maiori’s beach is the largest beach on Amalfi Coast. Maiori is less than 1km from Minori in the direction of Salerno. There are many beach bars where you can hire umbrellas and deck chairs. All of the beach bars have fresh water showers, including the public section of the beach. The beach is at road level so there are no steps to encounter. There are restaurants and shops near by.
Note: a general rule in Italy for swimming safety is if you see a red flag it is dangerous, (under currents, etc.) to swim past that point. A white flag indicates it is safe to swim.
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Local festivities & public holidays
1st January – Public holiday.
6th January – The Epiphany, public holiday.
4th March – Carnival, concludes on Shrove Tuesday.
19th March – St. Joseph, Fathers Day.
Good Friday – Various processions (not a public holiday).
Easter Sunday & Monday – Public Holiday.
Mid April to Mid May – Spring chamber music concerts in Ravello and Positano.
25th April – Liberation Day, public holiday
1st May - May Day.
3rd Sunday in May – St. Pantaleone, Patron Saint of Ravello.
June – July – Wagner concerts in the Villa Rufolo, Ravello & classic music concerts in the Closter in Paradise, Amalfi.
13th July – St. Trofimena in Minori. Procession and fireworks display.
27th July – St. Pantaleone, Patron Saint of Ravello. Procession & fireworks.
August – Mid – night concerts in Ravello
10th – Night of San Lorenzo in Scala
15th – Assumption, public holiday. Procession & firework display in Positano ad Maiori
September – October - International week of Chamber music in Ravello
October – Chestnut Sagra in Scala, folk music and stalls with local produce.
1st November – All Saints, public holiday.
2nd November - All Souls.
30th November – St. Andrew, Patron Saint of Amalfi.
8th December – Immaculate Conception, public holiday.
25th December/26th December – Public holidays.
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Sight – seeing
Museums, galleries and archaeological sites
The national Archaelogical Museum
Piazza Museo 35
Open 09.00 to 17.30 hrs Closed: Tuedsays
The museum was appointed by Charles III of Bourbon to house the large archaeological collections, which were gathered as a result of the discoveries of Herculaneum and Pompeii.
Capodimonte Museum & Gallery
Palazzo di Capodimonte
Open 10.00 to 18.00 hrs Closed: Mondays
The museum houses the Nationa Picture Gallery whose famous central feature is the Farnese collection. The 19th century gallery contains over 1300 works of art consisting majolica, pottery, enamels, jewellery and china.
The Royal Palace Museum
Open 09.00 to 18.00 hrs. Closed: Wednesdays
The majestic palace was built in the early 1600s for the Viceroys. Later it became the residence of the Bourbons and the Savoy princes. The beautiful rooms are adorned with paintings, porcelains, and tapestries.
The San Carlo Opera House
Via San Carlo
Open 09.00 to 12.00 hrs (except when rehearsals taking place)
Built in 1737 for Charles III, 40 years prior to the Scala in Milan. One of the most famous Opera houses in Europe, splendid in decoration and perfect in acoustics.
THE OLD ARSENAL OF AMALFI
Via degli Antichi Arsenali
Open daily 09.00 hrs to Sunset
The town on Pompeii, destroyed in 79 A.D. by the eruption of Vesuvius, has been brought to light thanks to excavations started slowly in 1748, and carried out more regularly from 1860 to the present day. The towns layout, the public buildings, houses, shops, art works and testimonies of everyday life have supplied a much better knowledge of the Roman culture and way of life.
Open daily 09.00 hrs to Sunset
This roman city was also destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius. The ancient part of the city, first discovered in 1738, is no less important and interesting than Pompeii. Buried in molten lava the town has been excellently preserved. New excavations undertaken is recent years have led to the discovery of a large boat and dozens of victims of the eruption.
Open 09.00 to 13.30 hrs Closed: Mondays
Among the most important in Italy contains finds from the archaeological zone. The museum contains terracotta, pottery, and bronzes dating back to Greek times.
Open 09.00 hrs to sunset Open: Daily
This astounding archaeological zone provides an invaluable contribution to Western Culture. Founded in the 7th century intact walls encircle the city area. In the interior are the Temple of Neptune, the Basilica, the Temple of Ceres, the Italic Temple and the Forum.
THE ROYAL PALACE
The apartments and the Gardens from 09.00 to 18.00 hrs. Closed: Mondays
The Royal Palace, a masterpiece designed by Vanvitelli, is one of the largest and impressive monumental buildings in Italy. The splendid park extends for 3 kms with fishponds, fountains, and scenic waterfalls.
VILLA OF SAINT MICHAEL MUSUEM
Viale Axel Munthe
May to Sep open from 09.00 to 18.00 hrs
Oct, Mar and April open from 09.30 to 16.00 hrs
The Villa, which enjoys a splendid position with magnificent views, was the home of the Swedish writer and physician Axel Munthe. The museum established by the foundation that bears his name, contains Greek and Roman antiquities, medieval marbles and furnishing from various periods.
THE CORREALE MUSEUM
Open 09.00 to 14.00 hrs Closed: Tuesdays.
The museum established in 1917 houses Greek and Roman finds, medieval marbles, furnishings from 15th to 18th century and paintings from the Neapolitan school. A section is dedicated to the local craft of cabinet making. There are also fine displays of pottery, majolica, clocks and lace.
THE INTARSIO MUSUEM
Via San Nicola, 28
Open 09.30 to 13.00 hrs / 16.00 to 20.00 hrs. Closed: Mondays and public holidays
The museum is situated in an 18th century patrician palace which has recently been restored, exhibiting a rich collection of inlaid wooden furniture and objects made by Sorrentine marquetry masters of the 19th century. It also has documentation of the Italian wooden marquetry dating from the 15th to 19th centuries. The ground floor has a shop where you will find inlaid furniture and objects sold promoting the cultural revival of the modern inlaid production.
For bookings and information on guided visits (1hr) telephone 0818771942.
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A very good bus service operates along the Amalfi Coast from Ravello to Amalfi, Sorrento, Positano, Salerno and Naples: Sita Buses.
The main bus stop in Ravello is outside the “Garden Restaurant” (through the tunnel that leads out of the main square). From Ravello for other destinations you will have to change to the Sita Buses once you’re in Amalfi. The main bus stop in Amalfi is in Flavio Gioa Square – all buses arrive and depart from there.
Ticket must be purchased before getting onto the buses and clipped by the machine on the buses, otherwise you will be fined. Tickets are only one way and can be purchased from tabacchi shops and in some of the bars.
There is also an internal bus which runs regularly in a circle round Positano. You can pay on the bus. There are many stops (fermata) along the route. Round trips take approx. 20 mins.
The taxis are available from the main squares of Ravello, Amalfi and Positano always arrange price of journey beforehand because taxis are not very cheap.
FERRIES & HYDROFOILS
Ferries and Hydrofoils operate daily from Amalfi “Molo Pennello” next to Flavio Gioia Square to Capri and Positano.
All ferries and Hydrofoils going to Capri stop in Positano. Tickets can be purchased at hotel reception and on the Molo Pennello before departure. Please remember to be on the dock at least half an hour before departure time.
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