There must be a reason this is one of the world’s most famous coastlines. Listed by UNESCO as one of Italy’s fifty World Heritage Sites, it is renowned as one of the key places for any tourist to visit. There is more than one reason that a trip to the Amalfi Coast is a must. Ingrid Bergman—who caused a scandal here when she went public about her love story with Roberto Rossellini, who dumped no less than Anna Magnani to be with her—summed it by saying that if a person had to choose a unique and wild stretch of coast boasting ancient history, destined by nature to astonish the eye and capture the heart, it would be the Amalfi Coast.
After all, the nearly 28,000 acres lying between the peninsula of Sorrento and the Gulf of Salerno are considered a balcony overlooking the sea, with rocky ravines, beaches alternated with tiny coves, promontories, and stretches of citrus and olive groves. And since diversity is the key, the sixteen municipalities in this part of the province of Salerno are famous for being completely different from each other. The names of some, like Amalfi, Positano, Ravello and Furore, have been etched in people’s imagination, but each of them actually has a unique geographical or cultural feature that distinguishes them. And a story to tell.
Positano. Let’s start here. It seems natural to wonder—after the enchantment of the first glance that puts your mind on hold for a few seconds— how a town that seems perched on boulders manages to stand up. Yet that warren of little white houses descending to the sea is probably the oldest settlement along this coast. Even the ancient Romans would come spend the summer here.
Today, however, the town, built up around the church of Santa Maria Assunta (10th century) and its ceramic dome that reflects the light of the Mediterranean with a Photoshop effect, has decidedly more sophisticated tourist facilities. Because here you can really do everything, from snooze in the sun and swimming until you’re ready to drop to climbing rock faces, since the Positano area (with over 200 itineraries) is the most important sport-climbing hub of southern Italy. Lastly, to rest your tired limbs the best thing is to devote your time to fine dining and very gratifying shopping. Here are a few recommendations on the musts, because you can’t leave Positano without a pair of legendary leather sands, a ceramic accessory, a scarf or some other little style detail.
Casa Buonocore (Via Cristoforo Colombo 77, tel. +39 089875085) has just seven rooms, so be sure to reserve well in advance. The 17th-century building has been completely restructured. Don’t worry about the 70 steps leading to the house: the porter service works perfectly.
Boutique Tre Danari (Via del Saracino 10, tel. +39 089 875062). Think of any color, any color at all, and you’ll find super-soft loafers or sandals made in exactly that shade.
Lo Scrigno di Brunella (Via Mulini 24, tel. +39 089 8123502). The big attraction is the linen of the accessories and dresses, but the selection of haute bijoux is equally hard to resist.
Ceramica Assunta (Via Cristoforo Colombo 97, tel. +39 089 875008). Since 1948 the shop has produced the typical colorful ceramics of the Amalfi Coast—also made to order. For larger purchases, they will also ship worldwide.