A short survey of the most important places…
Amalfi was founded by the Romans in the 4th century AD. Typical of this serene coastal town are the white houses, spread across the mountain slopes and the narrow stretch of alluvium soil on the shore. The famous cathedral, dedicated to Saint Andrew, was constructed in the 10th century; it is accessed by a steeply ascending stairway. It also houses the cloister “chiostro del paradiso”, dating back to the 13th century, with remnants from the Roman and medieval periods. In the hinterland, especially the valley of mills is charming, with many creeks and small waterfalls.
This small village is of antique origin and used to belong to the Republic of Amalfi until the 16th century. The church of San Salvatore de’Bireto was the church of the doges of Amalfi: here they were elected, invested into office and buried.
Cetara is an old fishing village. It is situated on a small bay with two beaches bordered by rocks, picturesquely squatted against the slopes of a vast valley. In the middle of the village the church of San Pietro is found, with its interesting medieval bell tower.
On the headland of “Capo di Conca” a tower was built in the 16th century, which offers a wide panoramic view. On the western edge of the small peninsula the wonderful “Grotta Smeralda” is located, which can bear any comparison with the more famous “Blue Grotto” of Capri.
Furore owes its fame mostly to the deep trench which interrupts the coast towards the hinterland, a form of a Southern Italian fjord. The road, which offers marvellous views upon the coast and the valley, leads into the interior of the Agerola plateau as high as 650 m above the sea. Here wide meadows, crossed by small creeks and fruit gardens, alternate with dense forests – perfect for all those who love quiet, relaxing strolls.
Maiori is situated on the mouth of the Tramonti valley and is popular mainly because of its long sandy beach and the seaside promenade lined with palm trees. The town had already been founded in the 9th century, but the flood catastrophe of 1954 destroyed large parts, which were then rebuilt in a modern style. The church of Santa Maria a Mare with its colourful majolica cupola and the gaudy, humming Friday market are very remarkable.
Minori is one of the oldest towns along the Amalfi coast. Thus, the remnants of a Roman villa erected in the 1st century AD can still be visited today, with frescoes, clay jugs etc. Also interesting is the basilica of Santa Trofimena, which houses the relics of the patron saint of Amalfi. Minori was (and to some extent is still) famous for its homemade pasta, its “limoncello” and its paper manufacture.
Positano had still been a small fishing village until the 1950s. During World War II, many European artists and writers came here. In the 50s and 60s of the 20th century, the “rich and famous” discovered this place, Sophia Loren as well as Mick Jagger.
Praiano, once a fishing and farming village, is a much visited holiday town with hotels and a large camping ground today. Its important past as the seat of the summer residence of the doges of Amalfi and site for silk production is still vivid in the splendour of the majolica cupola of the church of S. Gennaro and the parish church of S. Luca with its many paintings of the 16th century. From here you have a marvellous view. The art exhibition in the “torre a mare”, a medieval tower, is also very interesting.
Ravello, like Amalfi, is a Roman foundation from the 4th century AD. The town is situated about 300 m above the sea, special attractions apart from the cathedral from the 11th century are Villa Rufolo from the 13th century and Villa Cimbrone, both with a unique view. Due to its scenic beauty, the town evolved in the 19th century into a destination for noble tourists, including Richard Wagner. In his honour, each year since 1953 the “Ravello Festival” takes place in the garden of Villa Ruffino.
Scala is a small town in the heart of the “Monti Lattari”, the first settlement on the Amalfi coast. Two intertwined valleys connect Scala to Amalfi and Ravello. The town used to be residence for noblemen during the maritime republic. Many paths and the characteristic stairways lead the guests through a beautifully structured landscape with chestnut forests and ancient buildings.
Vietri sul Mare is a bathing village with a broad sandy beach and modern lidos. The cathedral of San Giovanni Battista with its beautiful bell tower is considered the town’s landmark. Vietri is also famous for its colourful ceramic, since the Middle Ages plates, vases, and ceramic tiles etc. have been manufactured here, to admire also in the Museum of Ceramic.