Amalfi Coast

Overview

From Andrew Harper

Located 90 minutes south of Naples, the famed Amalfi Coast seldom disappoints. The jagged Lattari Mountains plunge into the Mediterranean, providing some of the world’s most dramatic scenery. Surrounded by terraced lemon groves, picturesque whitewashed villages cling to precipitous slopes, while beneath forbidding cliffs the resort towns of Amalfi and Positano cluster at the edge of the sea. A narrow corniche road traces the indentations of the coastline from Sorrento east to the magical hill town of Ravello. Renowned for the gardens at Villa Cimbrone and Villa Rufolo (used by composer Richard Wagner as the inspiration for the magic garden of Klingsor in “Parsifal”), Ravello is an unhurried place, its civilized ambience enhanced by a delightful summer music festival.

Hotels

All recommended hotels in Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast, Italy
Hotel Caruso
Belmond Hotel Caruso

This enchanting property is a beguiling amalgam of buildings (including an 11th-century palazzo) overlooking the Gulf of Salerno 1,000 feet below.

Hotel Santa Caterina
Hotel Santa Caterina

Charming hotel overlooking Amalfi’s picturesque yacht harbor. The 66 guest quarters are divided among the main building and several villas in the grounds.

Il San Pietro di Positano
Il San Pietro di Positano

Dramatic resort hotel carved into a cliffside on the outskirts of Positano. Sixty informal guest lodgings are situated in tiers of gardens, most rooms featuring handpainted doors, decorative ceramic tile floors and scenic verandas.

Palazzo Avino
Palazzo Avino

Refined 12th-century villa (previously known as the Palazzo Sasso) set amid terraced gardens on a breathtaking ridge 1,100 feet above the sea in Ravello.

Salerno, Italy
Le Sirenuse
Le Sirenuse

Exceptionally glamorous and patrician hotel built around a palatial 18th-century villa overlooking Positano’s colorful harbor.

Dining

All recommended restaurants in Amalfi Coast

DON ALFONSO 1890

Legendary restaurateurs Livia and Alfonso Iaccarino oversee this elegant establishment. The changing menu features the light, healthy food of Campania given gentle updates in dishes such as ravioli stuffed with Caciotta cheese and marjoram topped with a simple, flavorful sauce of Vesuvian tomatoes and basil; seared amberjack (a kind of mackerel); and the extraordinary pasticcio di melanzane (an eggplant dessert with chocolate sauce). A sensational wine collection of 25,000 bottles is stored in an ancient cellar of Etruscan origin.

Corso Sant’Agata, 11/13
Sant'Agata (Midway between Positano and Sorrento) 87069
Italy
US$165
IL BUCO

Set in a splendid vaulted dining room (once the cellar in an eighth-century monastery), this atmospheric restaurant is under the demanding supervision of Giuseppe Aversa, a renowned authority on Campanian wines and olive oils. Try the wonderful Mediterranean-style fish soup of shellfish and seafood with fresh-made garlic croutons, or the lamb rib chops coated with tomato-flavored breadcrumbs and served with baby vegetables. Closed Wednesdays.

2A Rampa Marina Piccola, 5
Sorrento 80067
Italy
US$85
LA CARAVELLA

Located in a building that was once the archive of the Duchy of Amalfi, this celebrated restaurant specializes in regional fish/seafood dishes that might include pezzogna (a local blue-spotted bream) with lemon sauce, and mussels with mozzarella, olives, shrimp and tomatoes. For dessert, look no farther than the fried ravioli stuffed with bitter cherries. Notable list of Campanian wines. Closed Tuesdays.

Via Matteo Camera, 12
Amalfi 84011
Italy
US$85
TORRE DEL SARACINO

Located in a remodeled Saracen tower on the edge of the sea, this delightful restaurant has two small terraces for fine-weather dining, and an open kitchen where you can see chef Gennaro Esposito, a rising talent, at work. Try dishes such as his superb minestra (soup) with pasta, shellfish and fish; and baby squid filled with Provola cheese and bits of candied lemon. Excellent service and wine list.

Via Torretta, 9 Localita Marina d’Aequa
Vico Equense Napoli 80069
Italy
US$140