Among the beauties of Campania, in addition to the famous Naples and Capri, there is the Sorrentine Peninsula, a unique mix of nature and millenary history, between Naples and Salerno.
The southern part of the peninsula is referred to as the Amalfi Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997.
The peninsula is characterised by steep cliffs and an indented coastline dotted with small beaches and fishing villages in typical pastel colours.
Visiting this area offers the chance to explore charming villages, all with breathtaking views of the sea and the verdant coastline, with typical lemon groves on terraced land.
The Amalfi Coast and Sorrento Peninsula are also known for some typical products, such as limoncello, a liqueur made from the lemons of the area, and colatura di Alici di Cetara, a sauce made from salted anchovies, as well as Campania’s wines, provolone del Monaco DOP, mozzarella di bufala campana DOP and many other typical products.
Hand-coloured ceramics with a unique style are also typical of the area.
The northern side of this peninsula, called the Sorrento coast, is part of the Naples district and lies 50 kilometres south of the metropolitan capital, just after the important archaeological site of Pompeii.
This stretch of coastline is famous for its naturalistic, scenic and gastronomic beauty.
The town of Sorrento, with its characteristic alleyways and shops, is the most important town in the area and was one of the stops on the Grand Tour, in the 18th century, when young European aristocrats such as Goethe travelled around Europe spending their time exploring, studying and shopping.
What to see in Sorrento
Among the things is Piazza Tasso, the main square overlooking a gorge called the Vallone dei Mulini, which owes its name to the presence of an old mill used for grinding grain.
In the centre is Sorrento Cathedral, where traces of the early Christian and Byzantine cathedrals can still be seen in the marble, and Marina Grande, a small village of sailors with colourful houses that can be reached along a stone road, which was the setting for the famous film Scandal in Sorrento, the last part of the trilogy of the trilogy “Bread, Love and…” starring Vittorio De Sica and Sofia Loren.
For those who want to immerse themselves in nature, the itinerary we recommend is the one that takes you to the Roman villas on the Capo di Sorrento promontory. Take advantage of this to bathe in a splendid natural pool.
The Amalfi Coast
The south coast, in the province of Salerno, is named for the town of Amalfi, one of the ancient maritime republics.
The famous Italian poet Boccaccio already spoke of its beauty in 1350.
“(…) It is believed that the sea from Reggio to Gaeta is almost the most delightful part of Italy; in which, very close to Salerno, there is a coast above the sea, which the inhabitants call the Amalfi coast, full of small towns, gardens and fountains, and of rich and mercantile men, as well as some others. (…)”
(Giovanni Boccaccio, Decameron – Day II, novella IV)
Its natural beauty and picturesque landscapes have made it, especially after World War II, one of the favourite destinations of the world’s jet set, which has earned it the nickname ‘Divine Coast’.
Among the many celebrities who have chosen the Amalfi Coast as their beloved oasis over the years are: first lady Jacqueline Kennedy, actresses Grace Kelly, Greta Garbo and Sophia Loren, Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks, dancer Rudolf Nureyev and LeBron James.
What to see on the Amalfi coast
The main towns on the Amalfi coast are Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello and Vietri sul mare.
Developed mainly vertically on a cliff overlooking the sea, Positano is an absolute must during a tour of the Amalfi Coast. With its colourful houses, stairways, boutiques and narrow streets steeped in the scent of lemons, Positano is a town worth discovering.
In Amalfi, the most famous monument is undoubtedly the Cathedral of Amalfi in Arab-Sicilian style dedicated to Saint Andrew, the patron saint of the town. There is no lack of other attractions for adults and children or for trekking and nature lovers.
Because of the rough roads, if you are short of time we suggest you visit them with an organised tour.