Everyone says The Amalfi Coast is the finest coastline in Europe? The World? Yorkshire? So is it? We don’t know, but is certainly the best we have seen to date. It is the combination of everything that gives it the title of ‘best so far’. The verdant mountains interspersed with citrus groves, the turquoise sea, the sherbet-hued buildings that cling to the cliffs at ridiculous angles, the mouth-watering Pasticceria’s that allow belt-busting pit-stops, in a word it has the lot, simply breath-taking. Unfortunately the light was mush and as a result the Photographs are not good which means readers you will have to trust us when we say if you haven’t been then save up and go, it really is that good.
Positano church up top
We wanted to enjoy this so we left the Homie behind and hired a car and there is only one car to hire when cruising the Amalfi Coast and that is ………..
Our Smart Car
An automatic Smart Car. Why? You want to be able to look at all the gorgeous scenery without worrying about all that gear-changing nonsense, you want to be able to see the soaring mountains above you through the panoramic glass roof, you want to be able to park, you may, like us just want to do U-Turns on narrow roads just because you can. Trust us, anything bigger would be a nightmare, if you cannot get a Smart then go by bus. The only other thing to remember when you drive this scenic wonderment is to switch-off from all other vehicles around you. Just let the hormone-overloaded locals toot, overtake and crash. Just do not let them get to you. Just take your time and enjoy it.
We did the journey from Salerno to Sorrento and then traced our footsteps back again and this is our report.
According to Tracy this has one of the best ‘high streets’ she has seen in a long time, and trust me Tracy knows. It has a great variety of shops from Designer to Hardware and all in a Kilometre long traffic free avenue. Salerno is known to be one of Italy’s most liveable cities and we found nothing to disagree with that statement. We parked in an Aire on the seafront with a twenty minute walk or in our case a five minute cycle along the prom into the centre. As well as the shopping street it has a buzzy old town and some quite splendid public buildings on the sea-front.
We also visited the Duomo of St Matthew which was built by the Normans in the 11th century. According to our guide book this is the best medieval church in Italy. As we are not going to visit all the medieval churches in Italy then you will have to take their word for it. Based on previous information given by Lonely Planet I would take that with a pinch of salt. It has a chapel where every weapon used in the crusades was blessed, a tomb of a dead Pope; Gregory VII, and the burial place of Mathew from Matthew, Mark, Luke and John fame. It was a bit different from your normal church and we quite enjoyed it. Pictures.
Gregory VII Close-up
The Full Gregory
Crypt of St Matthew
And here is our only other Picture of Salerno old town.
John Conteh and Friend
Vierti sui Mare
This is the ceramics capital of Campania and true to form Tracy bought some bowls. This to add to the bowls we have bought in every place that sells bowls from Exeter to Eritrea. It is a proper working town with some still firing potteries and was the first time I have managed to have a grown-up conversation in Italian with a grown-up Italian. Thank you Duolingo. Some pics of Vierti.
Mermaid with fish on head
Where we bought our Bowls
The first of many Cliff-hanging Hotels and Villas
Minori & Maiori
Minori is the biggest resort on the coast and is bland in comparison to the rest of the villages. It is not a bad place but the standard of town to visit it here is high. Surprisingly it is the town that appears in the most photographed landscape on the Amalfi, but more of that later.
Maiori is the place to visit for cakes. The Sal De Riso is the finest café South of Derby with lemon-based pastries to die for. It is run by the Mary Berry of Italy, except the Italian Mary Berry is a man called Salvatore de Riso. We spent a rather nice time here.
Proper Coffee Pattern
The Village also has some nice views. It is a shame the light is so bad. Mush, mush, mush.
Chaps chewing the cud
The village with the best view of the Amalfi is also known as the place where DH Lawrence wrote Lady Chatterley’s lover and Wagner knocked out The Parsifal. The drive up and down is a bit of a laugh with numerous hairpins on a single track, Heaven knows the chaos there must be in the summer with the car-parks already full now in Mid-March. We visited the Villa Rufolo for the views and the history. The gardens are a delight and on a pleasant day you could spend a good few hours here. The views are some of the best you will ever see and the centrepiece of those views is brassy, sassy Minori. Pictures
Ravello main square
A View from Rufolo
The Tree in the View
Death of the Blue Man Group
That View from Rufolo
This place is overrun with tourists even now, does nobody in Japan work? We just managed to park our Smarty sideways or otherwise we would probably still be looking to park. Amalfi is a picturesque place with a wonderful Duomo in the centre and an accompaniment of white-washed alleyways and arches. We had a second cake at Café Pansa and it was poor in comparison to Risos’. If you are going to do one cake on the Amalfi then do not do it here as it relies on its reputation, and sadly like Mercedes it is no longer a leader (apart from the F1 cars which have nothing to do with the inferior German road cars of the same name).
A splendid town let down by poor cakes, the Bath of Italy?
A stunning place where we did not stop for cakes but we did take a couple of photos.
I have forgotten where this is.
Everything you may have heard about or read about this place is true. It is a photogenic dream boat. It is cool, chic, it is what stylish Italy is all about. We couldn’t afford the parking fees even in winter and so we stuck Mr Smarty sideways again and had a wander around and planned the Lottery win. Then reality hits home. Once you get a couple of streets away from the front you notice this place is as poor as Dossertown with most of the buildings falling down and a bad state of repair. It’s a shame the fortunate ones near the beach do not prop-up financially some of the less well off in the hinterland. But we are being picky, it is a truly beautiful place.
Positano from above
Positano from the other side
‘The Church’ in need of a paint job
Amalfi Coast View
Views of the Amalfi Coast
We did get to Sorrento and tried to take some pictures across the Bay of Naples but they did not work out. In the little time we spent there Sorrento looked not to be too bad a place. And there we will leave you.
Love to All