The Costiera Amalfitana, or more simply, in English, the Amalfi coast, is an area of Italy blessed with great natural beauty and diversity.
Much of the Amalfi coast’s settements were already very much established in the Middle Ages; the area’s landscape comprises of mountains and sea, both defining an incredibly unique coast lline, characterized by several coves and creeks, many of which can only be reached by sea. Several natural areas have remained completely untouched by tourism or, in fact, by any human influence. The highest mountain along the coast is Monte Sant’ Angelo, near Torre Pizzi, which stands at an altitude of 1425 meters (4675 ft).
Throughout the centuries, the inhabitants of the coast’s rural areas have showned great versatility, and have adapted the land to their desired use, without interferring with the shapes of nature. Orchards, upland pastures and terraced vineyards have all been created in respect on the area’s geological and natural characteristics. The coast is mainly known for its various cultivations on terraced land where citrus fruits are grown, the most famous among them certainly being Amalfitan lemon. Lemons grown here are sweet and can be eaten as desserts even without sugar. Local cuisine makes abundant use of them in cakes, as well as in the famous liqueur “limoncello” which is now consumed all over the world.
The coast comprises thirteen towns, spreading from the Gulf of Salerno to Naples. The many coves, cliffs and creeks along the way create an ever different and enchanting landscape that never fails to charm all visitors.
Costiera Amalfitana Italia World Best Mediterranean Regions
The main town along the Amalfitan coast is the one giving it its very name, Amalfi. Today, Amalfi is an internationally renowned tourist spot because of its natural beauty. The town is also well known for its monuments and its history. Located at the feet of the Lattari Mountains, it is characterized by narrow winding streets, charming staircases and white houses perched on the rocks, which gives it an unmistakably Greek allure.
The port of Amalfi has been an important trade center since ancient times. Amalfitan sailors were among the first to use compasses and special equipements to navigate the seas, as Amalfi was considered one of the most important ports in the Mediterranean. Amalfi’s own port is still very much an active spot, from which visitors can depart to neighboring regions and beaches on the coast, such as the Santa Croce beach. There are many important monuments and architectural wonders in Amalfi, the most important being its Cathedral, dedicated to Saint Andrew. Its staircase is especially noteworthy.
From Amalfi, one can reach Sorrento and Capri by boat, other well known tourist destinations of the area. If you have a penchant for historical tradtions, you should visit the city in June, when the traditional “Regata Storica delle Repubbliche Marinare” takes place, and participants are dressed in medieval costumes. Noteworthy is also the Festival of Lemons, another summertime tradition, which attracts culinary entusiasts from all over the world.
Amalfi is also known for its ancient technique of making paper, which dates back to the 18th century, and that is still used today. The paper museum, Museo della Carta, showcases the history and such typically Amalfitan tradition.
Ravello is famous all over the country and the world for its International Music Festival, the Festival Internazionale della Musica. It is very chic and quiet, set within an amazing landscape and before a crystal clear sea, and has known prosperity since the 11th century. One of its most noteworthy characteristics are its belvederes –one of the most famous being that of the Princess of Piedmont– from which beautiful views of the coast can be enjoyed. Ravello is also known for its exquisite villas: various famous artists like Escher, Vedova, Mirò and Ruskin have produced works inspired by the town’s landscape.
Located in the valley between the Regina and the Dragone rivers, along the Lattari Mountains, the silent and the peaceful atmosphere of the town has enchanted people for centuries. Historically and artistically, Ravello is rich. Its Cathedral is probably the most outstanding monument to be visited: built in the 12th century, it is known for its beautiful architecture. Several villas in Ravello, as we said already, are noted for their architecture and their artistic value, like Villa Rufolo, built in the 11th century and Villa Cimbrone, loved for its amazing belvedere.
Ravello is an interesting mixture of art, culture, history and natural beauty which makes it one of the most beautiful towns along the Amalfi Coast.
Scala is located at an altitude of 360 meters above sea level (about 1181 ft) and lies at the feet of the Lattari mountain range. It is known to be the oldest town along the coast. It is quite small, yet well known for its beautiful orchards, oak woods and chestnut groves.
The town is surrounded by a beautiful, hilly landscape, and is characterized by its many old staircases that lead to the orchards and the surrounding valleys. The valleys themselves are noted for their unspoiled natural beauty, and their various rare and exotic plants and trees. The Valle delle Ferriere is known for its excellent flora and fauna. The landscape has typical Mediterranean bushes and a riot of colors and smells.
The valley where Scala is located is set among rocks covered by bushes and groves. It is crossed by the Canneto river, which allows the growth of ferns like the woodwardia radicans, known to be quite rare.
The Amalfi Coast is blessed with excellent natural beauty and a rare combination of history, culture and art, for which it has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1997.
Edited by Francesca Bezzone