The best things to see and do in the Amalfi Coast
Being part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Amalfi Coast is an attraction on its own. But in case you have limited time, these are the must-visit attractions in the Amalfi Coast!
The Amalfi Cathedral
Immersed in the beautiful town of the Amalfi Coast, the Duomo di Amalfi is a fascinating Roman Catholic cathedral that dates back to the 9th century. The Amalfi Cathedral rises on top of the monumental flight of steps and dominates the main square of the small coastal town. What is so unique about the Amalfi Cathedral is its predominant Arab-Norman Romanesque architectural style. Throughout the centuries, the Duomo di Amalfi has been remodelled many times, adding Romanesque, Byzantine, Gothic and Baroque details. The Amafli Cathedral is dedicated to St. Andrew: in 1544 the citizens of Amalfi noticed that pirate ships were coming to their town, terrorised, they all went inside the cathedral and started to pray and asking for protection to their patron. All of a sudden, the sea became rough and the pirate ships were forced to leave. Since that episode, June 27th has been a holiday.
Villa Oplontis is a sensational site and a must-visit. Unlike the larger excavation sites like Pompeii or Herculaneum, this villa is less visited and for this reason allows visitors to enjoy the fabulous ruins and frescoes in a more intimate manner. Villa Oplontis was among the sites that was destroyed on August 28th 79 AD by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. However, this site has been able to maintain itself very well intact, and has preserved the fabulous frescos that characterise the villa in almost their original state. Also known as Villa Poppaea, this villa was an ancient Roman seaside villa owned by Emperor Nero. It is believed that the villa was given to his second wife, Poppaea Sabina, and used as her main residence when she was away from Rome.
Just like Pompeii, Herculaneum was a rich Roman city that was destroyed by the eruption of the Vesuvius in 79 AD. However, Herculaneum is famous around the world for being one of the Roman ancient cities that can be seen in much of its original grandeur. Herculaneum was a rich residential town near the sea, even richer than Pompeii. The city was flooded by volcanic pyroclastic flows which allowed for its preservation throughout the centuries. While Pompeii was covered by hot ashes that burned a lot of objects, this residential seaside town was able to preserve a lot of the artefacts, mosaics, paintings and even furniture. While you visit this outstanding town you will see many villas, buildings and frescoes almost completely intact.
An astonishing reminder of the splendour of the Roman Empire and Civilisation can be found near Naples, less than 1.30 hours from the Amalfi Coast. Pompeii was one of the most important centers of the Roman Empire, and an important artistic hub before it was buried under 4 to 6 meters of volcanic ash in 79 AD. When the Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, it was estimated that Pompeii had a population of 11,000 people, all whom were killed and buried along with this ancient Roman city. However, Pompeii has re-emerged as a city, and today we can admire it and have a look at it’s daily life thanks to the non-hard ash and lapilli that have covered it, keeping air and moisture from eroding the ruins and helping it stay intact. Today, you can see the shops, the roads, the Roman houses, the amphitheater the baths, the frescoes and other wonderful artefacts that characterised this wonderful Roman city.
Paestum was a fabulous city that was founded by Greek colonists, and later conquered by the Lucanians and the Romans. Visitors flock to this ancient city to visit the outstanding Greek temples, which are in a great state of preservation. The three Greek temples of Paestum were built in the V and VI centuries BC after the foundation of the city (originally called Poseidonia in 600 BC). Along with the temples of Athens and Agrigento they represent the best preserved temples of the classic era. In 1998 the ruins of Paestum became part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The city is surrounded by walls and extends for 120 hectares. In the central part of Paestum you will find the temples. In between the spectacular temples, there was the central piazza where citizens took part in assemblies and where they venerated the tomb of the founder of Paestum, as well as the market, which was the commercial hub of the city.
If you’re searching for a sensational view surrounded by lushes gardens, put Villa Cimbrone on your list. The villa’s gardens are phenomenal and contain some of the most beautiful flowers you will ever see. Villa Cimbrone’s gardens are considered among the most important examples of English landscape and botany in the Southern of Europe. The cascading gardens surrounded by 100 year-old trees offer unparalleled views of the Amalfi Coast. The villa’s gardens were extensively redesigned at the beginning of the 20th century and showcase a blend between classical and Roman decorative elements from all around the world including fountains, statues, pavilions and nymphaea. Don’t miss out on the fabulous gardens of Villa Cimbrone and its romantic views.
The Amalfi Coast is a spectacular place to shop. From luxury boutiques to stunning ceramics, local fashion and handmade goods, prepare to take out your wallets! Positano is a wonderful shopping oasis. All around the cliffside village you will find different types of stores, from clothing and towels, to amazing (and very famous) handmade leather sandals and shoes. And of course, as you’re moving from one shop to the next, don’t forget to taste some of Positano’s delicious pastries and desserts, yummy! And of course, let’s not forget about the beautiful Amalfi Coast ceramics and tableware. All of the ceramics are made using centuries-old traditions and can be found in vibrant colors and designs. If you want to go to the heart of the ceramics, a trip to Vietri sul Mare is a must. For those that have a sweet-tooth, the Amalfi Coast’s world-famous lemons, tomatoes, limoncello and buffalo mozzarella among many others are some of the local gastronomic products that you MUST take home with you!
The Amalfi coast offers crystalline waters along its rocky coastline. The pebbly beaches are wonderful, located along the different towns in the Amalfi Coast. From the most famous beaches to the tucked away paradisiac corners, Click here for a list and description of some of the most beautiful beaches on the Amalfi Coast.