By Phil Hanlon
The Amalfi Coast is a 43-mile stretch of coastline on the southern side of the headland that reaches out towards Capri. Stretching from just west of the town of Salerno to the "pearl of the Divine Coast" Positano, the Amalfi is known for its steep coastline, with cliffs and ravines that plunge to sea level and the beautiful sandy beaches that have been attracting tourists for decades. The region is also well-known for some its culinary delicacies, and many of the pretty historic villages in the area have their own speciality.
Positano is probably the most famous of the resorts on the Amalfi Coast, celebrated in literature as well as by the millions of visitors who have enjoyed its charms. Although the beach is the main attraction, it is worth exploring the historic town, with its maze of narrow, winding streets, full of shops selling locally made items, such as the linen dresses that are typical of the region and, of course, the delicious local liqueur, limoncello. There are several churches to visit, for such a small town, as well as the fortified towers that formed part of an elaborate coastal defence against pirate attacks. The Grotta La Porta, a cave in the cliffs will keep the kids happy too. You can take boat trips along the coast from the marina at Positano, and enjoy the view of the three rocky islands that rise from the sea three miles off the coast, Gallo Lungo, Rotonda and Castelluccio.
The town of Ravello is situated 350 metres above sea level, on top of the high cliffs, and offers a fabulous view along the Amalfi Coast. The town itself has become somewhat famous as celebrity haunt, with stars such as Barbara Streisand, John F Kennedy and Great Garbo holidaying here in decades past. Many of the most beautiful buildings in Ravello are some of the private houses, one of which, the Villa la Rondinaia, was home to the American writer Gore Vidal until a few years ago! Some of the once private houses can be visited, however, including the Villa Rufolo, with its impressive sea view terrace and gardens, which host a Wagner festival every year.
Many of the towns and villages on the Amalfi Coast have their own culinary speciality, usually revolving around seafood, which is still caught fresh by local boats. Some of the highlights include the salted anchovy sauce from Cetara, the hand-made pasta from Minori and the piennolo tomatoes that are grown in the village of Scala. If you can tear yourself away from the beautiful coastline, then it is worth visiting the region's vineyards, inland at Tramonti, a group of villages in the mountains. As well as giving you an opportunity to sample some of the local wines, the region is also well-known for its dairy products, particularly the light fiordilatte cheese. Make sure you try a local pizza there, if possible, as pizza makers from the Tramonti region now work all over Italy as they are in such high demand.
The Author, Phil Hanlon, writes for Holiday Home Rentals who have a selection of Villas in Amalfi Coast and Apartments in Amalfi Coast which can be rented direct from their owners.
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