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Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Paradise on Earth - The Amalfi Coast

Article first published as Paradise On Earth - The Amalfi Coast on Technorati.

Chances are that even if you have never actually visited some of the gorgeous places populating the Italian Amalfi Coast, you are aware of what they look like. Why? Because they are regularly featured in magazines and used as shooting locations in movies. "The talented Mr. Ripley", "Under the Tuscan Sun", "Only you" or the older "Beat the Devil" are a few examples.

The Amalfi Coast is located in the southern part of the Italian "boot" just around the corner from Naples. It is about 70 m long and ends at Positano, a stunning cliff-hanging town with breathtaking views over the sea and natural caves to discover. Its mix of white and colourful buildings as well as the luxuriant gardens sporting green Mediterranean plants, lemon trees and beautiful flowers make it an enchanting place to visit.

Amalfi is the biggest city. This does not mean that you will find it intimidating. On the contrary, its numerous alleys and steps give Amalfi a romantic and intimate feel. 57 steps will take you to Saint Andrew, the impressive cathedral overlooking the main Piazza. The town is also a good base for a visit to Capri.

Sorrento is located on its own peninsula with a panoramic view on Naples and Mount Vesuvius. Its lovely harbour is ideal for an evening stroll enjoying one of the many ice-cream flavours available. The petrified city remains of Pompeii are also close by, as well as the site of Herculaneum.

Ravello is another village on the "to visit" list. Situated at a great height above Amalfi, most of the visitors come during the day, so if you are after tranquillity at night, this might just be the place for you. Villa Rufolo and its amazing gardens, which so impressed Wagner, are well worth some of your time. A music festival is also organized there, starting early in April.

Travelling along the Amalfi Coast is relatively easy as means of transportations are plentiful. Visiting by car is of course one of them, and you will no doubt enjoy the stunning scenery as you drive along the coastal road. If you arrive by plane, you will most likely land in Naples. If you do not fancy renting a car, then trains, ferries and buses will be on offer to take you to your chosen destinations.

As it is understandably very popular during the summer season, you may prefer to visit it in spring or autumn, or even in winter when the temperatures remain pleasant. You will then avoid the crowds and inflated prices, and enjoy a more peaceful atmosphere. Whatever season you choose, you can be sure that you will not be disappointed.
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