November 23rd 2014

John Steinbeck called the Amalfi Coast a 'dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and… beckoningly real after you have gone.' But the colors, the sparkling sea, the crazily-angled towns perched on the cliffs and the truly unlikely ribbon of road hurling itself round impossible bends are real – real Italy.

Sorrento is the perfect place to begin a dream trip. A civilized old town straddling the cliffs overlooking the water to Naples and Mount Vesuvius it’s a climb – but one so well worth the effort – up to Sant’Agata for the views over the Gulfs of Naples and Salerno.amalfi trail 700

Take a ferry to the Isle of Capri, where natural treasures are enhanced by its place in ancient Greek myth and legend. Rocky caverns and Roman villas add to the romance. For lunch maybe insalata caprese – Capri’s very own - that most simple and Italian of dishes – fresh local mozzarella interleaved with scarlet tomatoes, glowing green basil leaves, salt and golden olive oil. Next stop, smart, magical Positano where it looks as though one of the gods piled up hundreds of houses into a pyramid for his – or her – amusement. Tempting as it is to laze on the beach, snacking on the local delicacy delizia al limone – sponge cakes layered with lemon cream and piped with whipped cream – take one of the paths above the town and hike with the truly dazzling views of the Amalfi Coast in front of you, dropping back down as the day ends for a dip in the sparkling ocean. From Nocelle, a tiny, car-free hamlet linked by scrambling walkways and steps, perched high above the bustle of the town, take the Path of the Gods, with blue sky above and sea below. coastline amy martin copy And this is Italy, so there is a stop on the way at a rustic local restaurant for a well-deserved lunch of delicious local produce. After a restful night in a lovely, historic hotel follow the quiet streets of colored stucco houses in peaceful and charming Ravello, to the gardens at the Villa Cimbrone, standing proud on its rocky outcrop. Wander the arbors and rose gardens and pause to take in the showstopping views from the aptly named Terrace of Infinity. After lunching on another regional specialty, spaghetti with lemon sauce made from the fat fruit plucked from the miles of sunbaked lemon groves, descend to lively Amalfi, where the fabulous cathedral is a surprise and an ancient paper mill still produces beautiful handmade paper from cotton rags. Don’t leave without trying limoncello, the zingy local liqueur – and take a bottle home to bring the Amalfi Coast dream back to life! All the details of our Walk are on our website. Thanks to Wayfarer Amy Martin for sharing her photos.

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