The famous and beautiful Amalfi Coast is full of stunning coastal towns such as Positano and Sorrento, but they are also popular tourist spots and can be very crowded during peak season. For a real taste of Italy and a chance to see a different side of the region when staying at one of our Amalfi Coast luxury villas
, why not seek out some of the hidden gems?
Conca dei Marini
The tiny fishing village of Conca dei Marini is often overlooked by tourists who are en route to the larger towns of Amalfi and Positano. The village is located between the two towns, and unlike them, Conca dei Marini does not have any touristy feel to it. The village is full of old, cream-coloured houses tucked in at the base of a cliff, making their way down to the bay which leads to the Tyrrhenian Sea. There are a handful of excellent seafood restaurants, a small church, a 16th-century watchtower and a quiet beach to explore. Dont miss a visit to Grotta del Smeraldo, a 100-foot cave that has been carved into the cliffs by the sea and named for the waters emerald green colouring.
Da Adolfo Trattoria
Like many tourist destinations, you have to be on the lookout for overpriced restaurants which cater to tourists on the Amalfi Coast. To avoid this, head to Da Adolfo, a casual trattoria on Laurito Beach, which is just a 10-minute boat ride from Positano. The 40-year-old eatery has a shabby-chic feel, with chalkboard menus, sand-covered floor and the waiters going barefoot. But it is the food which makes the place a true delight: grilled mozzarella on lemon leaves, spaghetti with fresh octopus and courgette, anchovies in green peppers and mussels with a tangy tomato sauce. Washed down with a chilled white wine, this place is a perfect example of Amalfi Coast cuisine.
Cantine Marisa Cuomo
Italy has an abundance of world-class wine regions, and so it is no surprise that Amalfis stretch of coastal vineyards often flies under the radar. However, that is changing with Cantine Marisa Cuomo, a winery in the cliffs of Furore, a town between Praiano and Conca dei Marini. The winery makes stunning wines, tasting as beautiful as the landscape that surrounds them. The crisp, fruity whites are made from native Fenile, Ginestra and Ripoli grapes and the vibrant red wines are made from the local grape Per e Palummo. Even if you are not a wine fan, the estate is worth a visit for the views alone, with 25 acres of lush vineyards overlooking the sea.
Praiano, like Conca dei Marini mentioned above, is a beautiful fishing village overlooked by the tourists who come in their thousands every year. In contrast to the cream-coloured houses of Conca dei Marini, Praiano has pretty pastel cottages, colourful mazes and tiled shrines, contrasted by the local families to protect their houses. The town is known for its many steps, with steep stairways all across the village, which leads down to the Vettica Beach, 300 feet below the centre of the village, and all the way up to Piazza San Gennaro. But the real highlight of Praiano is the sunsets. According to the locals, they are the best in the whole of the Amalfi Coast thanks to the west-facing position of the village. After enjoying a delicious seafood dinner, wander up the steps to the piazza to enjoy the sunset over the coast.
It is one thing to dine out, sampling the best Italian dishes the region has to offer; it is another thing to try cooking the sumptuous dishes yourself. Having a cooking lesson as part of your trip can give you life-long tips on how to make the best Italian food, and the best place to learn is with Mamma Agata in Ravello. Mamma Agata has been the chef for many Hollywood stars, such as Humphrey Bogart, Elizabeth Taylor and Fred Astaire and has a special gift for cooking. In her classes, done at her private home overlooking the Amalfi coastline, she will show you how to create wonderful pasta dishes of her own creation, pizzas, cakes and traditional preserves. At the end of the course, you will be able to cook wonderful Italian meals for yourself and family.
Sorrento Coastal Road
The Amalfi Coast is famous for its hairpin bends along the spectacular coastal road, offering stunning views of the coast and luscious landscape inland. The road is also one of the best ways to explore more of the region, just as a boat ride along the coast is. Of course, if you want a little road trip starting from Sorrento, you have to have the right choice of car. There are plenty of cars to choose from, including dinky Fiat 500s to classic Jaguars and sporty Ferraris. As you sit in the wonderful cars, driving the beautiful roads, you will feel as if you are in a Roberto Rossellini movie.
Vallone delle Ferriere
The Vallone delle Ferriere is a walking route near Amalfi, beginning in the town of Pontone and ending in Amalfi. As it descends towards the town of Amalfi, the route takes you through tall chestnut trees and rare ferns. You can see ruins of medieval foundries, which gave the valley its name. It is often a quiet walk, meaning you are unlikely to come across many people on the walk, which truly makes it one of the regions hidden gems. As you walk along the route, you can also come across lemon trees, vineyards, waterfalls and streams. The walk takes around three hours, but there are also spots where you can detour to explore more of the woods and scenery.
The Amalfi Coast has so much to offer everyone who visits, and anyone who does is sure to fall in love with every part of the region, from the bustling towns like Positano to the quiet spots like Praiano.
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