Five towns you need to see on the Amalfi Coast

29th April, 2016
Looking out towards the Mediterranean Sea, the Amalfi Coast is one of the prettiest areas of Italy, the coastline decorated with picture-perfect villages and surrounded by stunning mountain scenery. The drive along the coastal road is also considered one of the best in the world, passing blue waters, colourful houses and ancient churches, though it’s also worth paying a visit to the individual towns to soak up the atmosphere, sample the local cuisine and browse the shops selling the famous local ceramics. Here are five of the towns you need to check out if you’re staying in our Amalfi Coast villas.

Positano


Once one of the thriving centres of the Middle Ages, Positano faced a decline as many of its residents emigrated to America, and at the beginning of the early 20th century, Positano was a humble and poor fishing village. Its fortunes quickly turned around, however, with the rise of tourism, with many falling in love with this picturesque hilltop town. The main landmark of Positano is the Santa Maria Asunta church, featuring a pretty dome made from majolica tiles as well as a black Madonna statue.

Ravello


Formerly a safe haven for barbarian invaders as well as an important centre for trade, today people flock from far and wide to take in the charms of this city and the breath-taking surrounding scenery. Part of the fun is just wandering the cobbled streets and seeing what surprises lie around each corner. Ravello was a great inspiration for the work of Richard Wagner, so much so that a festival, the Ravello Festival, is held every year to celebrate his legacy. Among the must-sees are the Duomo de Ravello, where the beauty lies in its simplicity, and Villa Cimbrone, a lavish villa surrounded by spectacular gardens.

Amalfi


Another important trading centre from the 9th to the 13th century, Amalfi is today known for its historic charm combined with its incredible beauty. It is perhaps best known for its outstanding medieval architecture, which demonstrates influences from a variety of different places and cultures. The 11th century Cathedral of Sant’ Andrea is the town’s centrepiece, with striking features also awaiting inside including ceiling paintings and a statue of St Andrew sculpted by Michelangelo. Former cemetery of the nobility Chiostro del Paradisio is today an open-air museum worth visiting, and the Museum of Handmade Paper gives a fascinating insight into the town’s former industry.


Atrani


The smallest town in southern Italy, with less than a thousand residents, Atrani is the epitome of la dolce vita, having been used in many commercials including one for Italian carmaker Fiat. Among the main attractions are a small and beautiful beach, the 15th century Torre della Ziro, an impressive hilltop fortress, and the 10th century Church of San Salvatore de’ Birecto, featuring extravagant bronze doors adorned in religious scenes.


Praiano


A summer tourist destination as early as the 10th century, when it first attracted the doges of the Duchy of Amalfi, Praiano is a special coastal town in the unique position of sitting on the side of a steep cliff. Located between Positano and Amalfi, Praiano is a great place to stop if you’re travelling between the two. It’s home to several pretty churches, including the Chiesa SS Annunziata, located on the beach, the Chiesa Santa Maria ad Castra, and the Chiesa di San Giovanni, featuring an impressive pipe organ.


Image: Eric Hossinger, available under Creative Commons