Visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to sightseeing on the Amalfi Coast. With a whole host of things to do and stunning Amalfi Coast sights to see and visit, there is plenty to enjoy during your stay.
The first glimpse of the area that holidaymakers tend to see is Naples, the primary city in this region of Italy. Naples is a bustling city and one which has received negative press in the past few years. However, don’t be put off. Naples is the home of pizza, pasta and ice-cream and certainly the food on offer in the city is superb. At the heart of the city lies the Spaccanapoli and via dei Tribunali, long and atmospheric streets, packed packed full of palaces, shops, churches and monasteries. Certainly, some of the architectural sights are superb. Don’t miss a visit to the Duomo housing the relics of San Gennaro, the patron saint of Napoli, or the Santa Chiara cloisters, a haven of peace and tranquility just steps away from the busy streets of the city. The National Archeological Museum in the city is well worth visiting too, with numerous objects of interest.
Wherever you base yourself during your stay, it is worth taking a drive along the Amalfi coastline, otherwise known as the Via Smeraldo (Emerald Road). The views along the coastline from Sorrento to Salerno are absolutely breathtaking. Using the public bus service or private escorted tour will allow you to enjoy the views rather than having to concentrate on the road ahead. Along the coastal road, there are plenty of towns and villages to stop and enjoy. Probably the most famous of these are Sorrento, Amalfi, Positano and Ravello.
Sorrento is a bustling town, popular with holidaymakers. It’s cobbled streets, lively piazzas and interesting shops make it a pleasant place to spend an afternoon soaking up the atmosphere.
Amalfi is the largest of the towns along this coastline. The town’s stunning Duomo reflects the towns rich maritime history. Entry to the cathedral is free whilst there is a small entry fee to gain access to the museum and cloisters.
A steep slope leads visitors down to the sea at Positano. Narrow streets are filled with small boutiques renowned for their hand made sandals and cotton clothing, whilst the scent of beautiful flowers in adjacent gardens fills the air. It’s a fashionable village, popular with the wealthy. Leave some time to take a dip in the sea here before working your way back up the steep slope to the main Amalfi road. Further on, Praiano is a similarly fashionable spot.
Ravello is a wonderfully peaceful town with the best views on offer in the area. Head to the prime vantage points including Villa Cimbrone and Villa Rufolo. With its annual classical music festival held from July to November, Ravello also offers the perfect opportunity to soak up the culture during your stay.
There is also plenty to see off the coast two. Don’t leave without taking a boat trip out to the island of Capri. Both the towns of Capri and Anacapri are worth visiting during your trip to the island. Capri is famous for it’s expensive shops and boutiques catering for the rich holidaymakers that visit each year. Neighbouring Anacapri is quieter than its famous neighbour. Whilst still very popular, Capri’s second largest town has a very different feel to it. However, there is much more to the island than just shopping. A trip up the single seat chair lift to Capri’s summit is highly recommended. The views are breathtaking. However, if you’re nervous about taking the chairlift that leaves from Piazza Vittoria, then it is also possible to walk to the summit of Mount Solaro instead. Simply start your journey on foot from the beginning of the Viale Axel Munth. Also worth visiting on Capri is Villa Jovis, Emperior Tiberius’ main villa (he had 12 villas in total!) Located on the Eastern side of the island of Capri, the villa is well preserved and provides a fascinating insight into Roman life. Open between 11 and 3 o’clock on most days of the week, the villa also enjoys spectacular views from its terraces and cliffs.
You may also want to take a trip to the Blue Grotto. The Grotto Azzurra is a sea cavern on the coastline of Cpari. Sunlight passes through an underwater cavern and shines through the water, creating an intense blue reflection that illuminates the cavern. The Grotto dello Smeraldo is a similar cavern on the Amalfi coastline. Accessible via a steep staircase or lift from the road, it’s blue green waters and stalactite and stalagmite formations are fascinating. For those with small children or for those who prefer to avoid the steps, it’s also possible to reach by boat. Bear in mind that it can take a while to reach the cavern due to it’s popularity.
There are plenty of museums to enjoy too. And, a visit to the area would not be complete without a visit to the major archeological sites in the area, the most well known being Pompeii and Herculaneum. Pompeii is the largest of these sites, covering nearly 70 hectares of land. There is an incredible amount to see so do allow plenty of time to ensure you see everything. And remember to wear sensible shoes, and to bring plenty of water and suncream if it’s hot. Herculaneum is a smaller site but visitors should also still allow 3 hours there to be able to do it justice. In ancient times, Herculaneum was a wealthy Roman town with approximately 5000 residents and has been remarkably well preserved. There are also 3 other lesser known archaelogical sites in this area – Oplontis, Stabiae and Boscoreale. For those wanting to visit all 5 sites, it is possible to buy a ticket valid for all 5 sites on 3 consecutive days which will save you money on the entry fees. Just ask for a biglietto cumulativo. Oplontis is where Nero’s 2nd wife, Poppea, is believed to have had a villa. It’s a fascinating, incredibly well preserved site and well worth visiting. Boscoreale is located to the North of Pompeii. Exhibits here really help to bring the Roman times to life. Finally, Stabia is actually not one site, but a collection of buildings discovered over the centuries and again, are worth seeing if you have the time.
Near to Pompeii is Vesuvius. The volcano may not have erupted since 1944 but it’s still heart stopping to climb to its summit and peer into the huge crater. It’s not the only volcano in the area though. Monte Epomeo is nearby Ischia’s dead volcano. A trip to the summit will be rewarded with equally impressive views over the surrounding area.
For those that want to savour Greek rather than Roman history, Paestrum is well worth a visit. Located South East of Naples, the 120 hectare site (of which only 25 hectares has been excavated and is open to the public), is certainly Italy’s most important Greek ruins with it’s superb displays of Greek Doric temples. The remains of the three major temples are certainly the site’s biggest attraction and date from the first half of the 6th Century BC. The painted tombs are also of major interest to visitors.
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