Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP is the ambassadress of a deeply fascinating land that deserves to be described. We have put together this travel itinerary for the discovery of the DOP towns and villages.
Here we’re telling you about the heavenly Amalfi Coast.
Also called the “Divine Coast”, the Amalfi Coast is a picture postcard: the turquoise and cobalt tones of the sea blend with the mauve of the bougainvillea on the walls of the houses overhanging the coast. Arriving at this length of the Campania coast and walking along the streets of its surrounding towns and villages means enjoying its sun kissed views and being inebriated by the perfume of the Sorrento Peninsula’s lemon groves. Wandering through the picturesque alleyways and the fishing villages will immerse you in an atmosphere where time has no boundaries.
Lovers of the sea will find beaches with crystal clear water, cliffs dotted with mysterious caves and coves that can only be reached by boat.
Let’s begin our discovery of the pearls of the Tyrrhenian Sea, a UNESCO heritage site.
The history of the Amalfi Coast
Amalfi, from which the coast takes its name, was a colony of the Roman Empire. According to legend, the name Amalfi derives from a nymph loved by Heracles who was buried in the eponymous city. However, historians attribute the name Amelphes to its original foundation by a number of Romans who had settled in this length of the Salerno coast. The beauty of the Amalfi Coast over the centuries has not gone unnoticed by the Greek, Goth and Byzantine populations who, in 533, fought over this piece of territory which then, in 839, became a principality of the Lombards from Salerno. Conquered in 1136 from the Normans and, after a period of economic crisis, the allure of the Amalfi Coast was rediscovered in the Eighteenth Century as part of the upper classes’ Grand Tours.
Where to stay
The Amalfi Coast consists of 13 Municipalities that differ greatly due to their relative positions and characteristics linked to the events and beauty of their landscapes and monuments.
- If you love a lively environment, breath-taking views and, above all, the commodity of being at the centre of the Amalfi Coast, you could stay in either Amalfi or Atrani. Here, in the midst of the typical white houses, you can visit the historic buildings, stop off in the excellent restaurants or enjoy a swim from the beaches of both towns.
- For honeymooning couples and the lovers of nightlife and boat trips, there’s Positano whose nightclubs, restaurants and trendy boutiques will steal your heart away.
- If you have a car and love art, the culture and music in Ravello with its festivals, concerts and events, is the ideal place for an overnight stay.
- If, however, you want peace and quiet as well heavenly coves, the sea town of Conca dei Marini will satisfy your every desire for uncontaminated landscapes and an ultra-pure sea.
- If you’re allergic to crowds and want to spend whole days at the sea with the children, Maiori has the largest beach on the Coast where you can spend your time in tranquillity and take a heady walk along the Limoni path.
- Minori is the perfect place for those who want to laze around and want to indulge in a little bit of gluttony: you’ll just love all the patisseries!
What to put in your bag
We’ve arrived at the fateful moment: “What do I need to pack?”
The Amalfi Coast is a length of coast with a warm and temperate climate ideal for excursions, walks, aperitifs by the sea and evenings in exclusive venues. In order to enjoy these moments, you should pack comfortable, casual clothes and a few smart outfits. So, you will absolutely need a pair of trainers to wear during your explorations of the narrow streets and typical stairways that are dotted throughout the towns. For lively evenings, a little dress and low-heeled sandals for her and jeans or trousers, a shirt and loafers for him, will be the perfect outfits.
For your days on the beach, don’t forget a beach umbrella to keep off the burning sun, sun cream, rubber shoes for the rocks and a mask to gaze at the bottom of the crystal-clear sea. You should also include a belt bag and a straw basket in true Amalfi Coast style where you can also keep an anti-mosquito spray and the inevitable celebrity style sunglasses.
The absolutely unmissable routes once you get to the Amalfi Coast
The length of the Amalfi Coast stretches for 11,321 hectares between the Gulf of Naples and the Gulf of Salerno and includes 13 municipalities: Amalfi, Atrani, Cetara, Conca dei Marini, Furore, Maiori, Minori, Positano, Praiano, Ravello, Scala, Tramonti, and Vietri sul Mare.
You can get to these towns starting out on the most spectacular coast road in Italy, the 163 Amalfitana (SS 163).
Once you arrive in this area, you’ll be struck by the amazing scenery: the fishermen intent on fishing out sea-urchins and rockfish with their hooks and unrolling their fishing nets before the crystal-clear sea, or the views that open up from the terraces of the villas and the guard towers.
If you want to discover the hidden beauties of the Amalfi Coast, venture into the little streets of the towns: here you’ll be able to visit the tiny churches in different styles, from the Romanic to the Byzantine, through to the Greek and the Norman.
Between a walk in the town centre and a visit to the monuments with a wealth of legends, at every street corner you’ll find the typical kiosks where you can stop for a bit of refreshment and enjoy a paper twist of freshly fished fried fish or a granita made with the famous Amalfi lemons.
Once you’ve regained your strength, why not take a boat trip amongst the mysterious coves along the coast?
Our tour around the Amalfi Coast and its characteristic towns begins in Salerno, the main city in the area. In this port city with its Oscan-Etruscan traditions, the fascinating medieval castle of Arechi is one of the preferred destinations: it was built during the Gothic-Byzantine era at 300 metres from the sea and hosts a medieval museum.
Below the castle are the imposing arches of the medieval aqueduct, created to supply water to the monastery of San Benedetto.
Salerno passed quickly from the medieval to the Romanesque periods, as can be seen in the city’s Cathedral, one of the few basilicas in the world to still have seven steps up to the throne. According to one legend, the lions at the Cathedral’s entrance came alive during one of the Saracen invasions and devoured the pirates who wanted to profane it. From the ancient atmosphere of the basilica, we pass to the modern one of the maritime terminal designed by the architect Zaha Hadid. Its special oyster shape will amaze you.
However, if you wish to immerge yourself in the beauties of nature and enjoy an amazing spectacle, Salerno’s Trieste seafront and Minerva’s Garden will quickly win you over: the former with its exotic vegetation and benches where you can sit with a view over the Gulf of Salerno and the latter where you’ll be surrounded by rare botanical species.
After a long walk in the sun, the moment comes when you want a refreshing swim. Amongst Salerno’s most beautiful beaches is that of Conca dei Marini, with its cliffs bathed by the crystalline sea and the beach of Pollica with its golden sand and turquoise waters.
Vietri sul mare
Vietri sul mare is a small town whose origins, according to historians, are linked to the Etruscan merchant city of Marcina. According to the myth, the founding of Vietri is owed to Jason who, on the orders of Aeolus, descended on these shores with his fifty Argonauts, fell in love with the coast and founded a city with a temple dedicated to Hera Argiva.
Vietri’s most well-known characteristic is that of its coloured ceramics that, like precious jewels, enrich very corner of the town, including the church of San Giovanni Battista, the facade of the Arciconfraternita dell’Annunziata e del Rosario and the highly colourful Solimene ceramics factory.
Beauty is everywhere, therefore, including on the table because, in Vietri, you can also buy the characteristic ceramic mozzarelliere [mozzarella containers] made to contain Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP, as if in a jewellery box.
If you want to relax in Vietri, you’ll find the biggest free beach on the Amalfi Coast, a vast sandy expense suitable for families and children.
At the foot of Monte Falerio, Cetara lies on the expanse of a deep valley, surrounded by citrus groves and vineyards. Arriving in this picturesque fishing village, famous for its delicious anchovy sauce, is like reliving an ancient maritime tradition.
Amongst the beautiful places to be visited in Cetara, the following stand out:
- the 14th Century Viceroy’s Tower, built as a defence
- the Baroque Church of San Pietro Apostolo with its cupola covered with majolica tiles
- the Convent of San Francesco built in 1300 with splendid frescoes.
You can have a refreshing swim in Cetara on the Marina di Cetara beach, a small and welcoming expanse with the clearest of waters. If you’re a bit more daring, you can make it to the Torretta beach, once called the Lannio beach (of lamentation) due to the monstrous sounds of lament that were said to come from it.
Amalfi, is the town that gives its name to the Coast and was an Italian Maritime State, together with Genoa, Pisa and Venice.
The town of Amalfi is known throughout the world for the beautiful artistic assets that can be accessed via the many stairways and alleyways that open up onto to fabulous views.
Not to be missed are:
- the Cathedral of Sant’Andrea Apostolo, a church in the Arab-Sicilian style with a mosaic facade, cloisters and an imposing staircase
- the Vallone delle Ferriere, a natural reserve with fern woods and streams
- the Paper Museum, located inside an ancient watermill where there are still the ancient machines used for producing paper in the past.
The Amalfi beaches can be reached via the sea and are the right compromise for those who love both sand and pebbles. One example is the Grande beach. The rocks and pebbles are, on the other hand, the prerogative of the Duoglio beach that can be reached after a descent of 400 steps. The Santa Croce beach, however, will take your breath away with its crystalline sea.
Lying between Positano and the Conca de Marini is the town of Praiano, chosen in the past by the Doges as a tourist residence, due to the quiet and the fascination of its landscapes.
In this town of little more than 2000 inhabitants, it is possible to visit the 13 churches with numerous frescoes and walk through the small fishing village that has maintained its atmosphere of yesteryear.
Priano takes your breath away due to its spectacular views: from that of the sunset in the Costantinopoli square to that of the main square looking over the sea.
Not to be missed are the 8 Naturarte pathways in which the beauty of Priano fuses with the artistic installations, creating a museum open to the skies with a view of the sea.
One of the most beautiful beaches in Italy is Marina di Praia with crystal clear water and a pebble beach. It lies at the top of a cliff and can be reached via the very long stairways that are typical of the Amalfi Coast towns.
Positano is another town on the Amalfi Coast with a wealth of beauty and myths such as the journey of Ulysses. According to legend, sirens lived between the three little islands called the Isole Li Galli or Le Sirenuse and entranced the sailors, including Ulysses, with their songs.
As well as being a place rich with legends, Positano is also the preferred destination of tourists from all over the world due to its picturesque streets and characteristic white villas standing directly over the sea. Amongst the numerous towers used as lookouts against the pirates, the majolica tiled cupola of the church of Santa Maria Assunta stands out, a monument of the second half of the 10th Century inside which is the famous icon of the Black Madonna.
Amongst the main beaches in Positano, again reached by means of the numerous stairways, the most famous one is the Spiaggia Grande, frequented by artists and actors. This is followed by the Spiaggia di Fornillo, ideal for bathing far from prying eyes. Both can be reached on foot. The beaches of La Porta, Arienzo and San Pietro Laurito, however, are all accessible via the sea if you’re up for taking a boat trip.
Furore is the “painted” town of the Amalfi Coast, and, in 2017, was chosen as the most beautiful Town in Italy, due to its wealth of art, culture and panoramas.
Walking through its streets, you’ll be amazed by the views, amongst which is the Fiord. Born out of a rift in the rock created by a tiny stream, according to legend, the Fiord is inhabited by janare, women who, thanks to their magic potions, fly over the sea on fishing boats.
During your walk through Furore, you’ll be accompanied from on high by the Arab style bell towers and cupolas of the churches that contain frescoes almost 1000 years old.
Art is the essence of Furore and it can be felt particularly:
- in the church of San Giacomo, characterised by Byzantine frescoes;
- in the church of Sant’Elia containing one of the most beautiful triptychs on the Amalfi Coast;
- in the streets, thanks to the many murals by contemporary artists.
If, after a trip round the characteristic sites of Furore, you want to live the town to its full, a glass of wine from the area and its quiet atmosphere will pay you back for all your efforts. It was precisely the sense of peace in Furore that captivated the actor Anna Magnani and the director Roberto Rossellini as they spent the most wonderful moments of their love affair here.
If you arrive in July, don’t miss the spine-tingling diving competition that is held every year on the tiny beach of this enchanting maritime village.
Climbing up to an altitude of 350 metres, we find Ravello. The city of music, Ravello is one of the most evocative destinations and that least frequented by tourists on the Amalfi Coast.
A fascination with works of art and architecture is very much alive in this town. Not to be missed are:
- the Duomo, one of the most ancient ex-cathedrals in Italy with its Museum of the Opera and its collection of medieval and modern art.
- Villa Rufolo, with such luxurious plants in its Belvedere, a garden facing the East looking over the entire coastal area, that they enchanted the composer Wagner.
- the Castiglione beach, where you can lie on the sand and swim in the pure, clear waters.
According to legend, Ravello is where the devil brought Christ to tempt him with the marvels of the world.
If you arrive in the town in July, you can take part in the Ravello Festival with musical performances paying homage to the composer Richard Wagner. The Consorzio della Mozzarella di Bufala Campana Dop was a partner in the 2020 Ravello Festival, promoting the beauty and the culture of the territory.
Built over just 0.9 square metres, Atrani is the smallest village in Italy and its tiny area makes it a place to visit in record time.
Its structure is typically medieval and, through its alleyways, stairways and arches where nobles, popular heroes and duchesses walked in the past, you’ll come to its square where you’ll find the Chuch of S. Salvatore De Birecto, the site of the crowning of the Doges. Together with this church, you can also visit the Collegiata di Santa Maria Maddalena founded on the remains of an ancient medieval fortress, as well as the ancient Church of Santa Maria del Bando, from which, after climbing about one hundred very steep stairs, you’ll receive the gift of a truly astounding panoramic view.
If, however, you’re looking for thrills, the Torre dello Ziro might be just up your street: the Neapolitan duchess Giovanna D’Aragona was imprisoned here with her children in the 16th Century after an affair with one of her servants. As a result of this illicit relationship, she was sentenced to death by her brother, together with her children. The word is out that there are strange goings on in the tower.
Atrani is ideal if you want to take a peaceful swim, thanks to its tiny, enclosed and protected beach.
Conca dei marini
After Atrani, Conca dei Marini is the smallest municipality in Campania and its name comes from its characteristic basin type shape.
The town is built on two levels: the first tier is intended for cellars and warehouses where the inhabitants keep their fishing tools with drawers down below. These look over the tiny bay. On the second tier, higher up, lie the houses in the midst of kitchen gardens, olive groves and terraces covered in lemon trees.
This town is known for the presence of six churches all with breath-taking views due to its amazing natural panoramas such as the Grotta dello Smeraldo. In this maritime cave, the long stalactites create a unique and extraordinary atmosphere while you swim in the emerald waters with a white, ceramic nativity scene standing on the sea bed.
The beaches with their clear blue waters at Conca Marini are those of Runghetiello prima and Riunghetiello seconda, with pebbled sea beds and crystalline water that can be reached on a boat trip.
Maiori is the second largest municipality for number of inhabitants and surface area on the Amalfi Coast.
The first traces of this town go back to Etruscan settlements while, the name of Reghinna Major comes from the Roman period and was given to the river that ran into the inlet of modern Maiori, in contrast to the name Reghinna Minor given to the smaller water course.
Maiori’s historic and artistic heritage contains a wealth of religious architecture. Not to be missed are:
- the Collegiata di Santa Maria a Mare
- the enchanting Santuario dell’Avvocata that can be reached after a long walk uphill.
- The famous path of the Lemons that leads to Minori: this was the only road that connected the two towns before the state road was built. Walking along the path is to experience being immersed in the lemon blossom while overlooking the Amalfi Coast sea.
Maiori’s sandy coast, with its two lengths of free beaches, is the ideal location for families with children who want to enjoy a glorious day at the sea.
In the past, the municipality of Minori was the holiday location preferred by the aristocracy, as evidenced by the Villa Marittima Romana, one of the most beautiful aristocratic homes of Roman tradition with arches, walls and columns in shades of red and blue.
Once upon a time, Minori had a wealth of mills used today for the production of pasta, the pride of the dishes in the traditional cuisine of the Salerno area.
Art, food and culture make Minori a fascinating place, together with its legends such as that of its patron saint Santa Trofimena. The saint and martyr came originally from Sicily but, after she was killed, was found in a crate on the Minori coast. The inhabitants of Minori saved her body with the help of two heifers and the church that contains the remains of the saint was built where the animals came to a halt. Since then, Santa Trofimena is the protector of the coastal town and the Minori people.
The sand in Minori is extremely fine and its south-facing aspect makes it suitable for all those loving a deep tan and in search of a radiant sun at all hours of the day.
The typical dishes of the Amalfi Coast
After bingeing on history, culture and beauty, now it’s the turn of culinary specialities. On the Amalfi Coast, the traditional cuisine claims a number of signature fish dishes: from the scialatielli ai frutti di mare, one of the coast’s typical fresh pastas, to the Cetara anchovy sauce, a concentrate of the sea to be added to your dishes, through to the ndunderi, a type of gnocchi that UNESCO has considered as one of the most ancient pastas in the world.
If you’re lovers of sweet things, the granita made with Amalfi lemons can be tasted at every corner of the streets and the refreshing typical lemon delight can be found in all the patisseries on the Amalfi Coast.
If, on the other hand, you dare to try some very special flavours, the buffalo milk ice-cream can satisfy even the most demanding of palates and you can taste it in the cheese dairies in the towns together with Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP. You can take it home as a tasty souvenir and serve it in the mozzarella containers from Vietri: you’ll knock them all out!
The fantastic landscapes of the Amalfi Coast are waiting for you. All you need to do is pack your bags and discover them all