With Mediterranean views that stretch for miles capped off by the zesty perfume of fresh local lemons, the Amalfi Coast oozes la dolce vita. Summer vacationers will find the popular destination jammed with tourists and Italian travelers alike. But if you can, plan your trip slightly off-peak instead, say for September or October when the Med is still warm and the sun still sets late into the evening, but the crowds have largely gone home. Now all that's left is packing...
With its craggy shoreline, Amalfi Coast's towns are made for romance and a touch of drama. (See: Sophia Loren and Monica Bellucci.) With hilly roads, it's best to stick with flat sandals during the day like this pair in blue and white ($230), which will go smoothly with a simple tee and slouchy indigo shorts ($48). Or play the femme fatale in feminine shapes or patterns, like this red and blue floral day dress ($127.99) and a black tie-front bikini set with flattering bustline($14.70 for the top; $12.60 for the matching bottom). Lace and eyelet, like this lace trim chambray top ($40) and white-pieced frock ($149), are also sweet winners. Top off your look with a pair of glamorous oversize tortoiseshell sunglasses ($88).
Head to the iconic town of Positano for dinner. Casa e Bottega, situated up the hill a ways, has old-fashioned charm to spare. It's great for lunch or to sip a limoncello, the famed local drink, at sunset. The outfit for such a cinematic setting? A white lace sweater dress ($289) captures the vibe. Wear it with these sturdy gold cork wedges ($138) if you can handle the brief climb. And if you're in the mood, add this light brown kid leather belt to define the waist ($28.80), and sling on this yellow crochet knit bag ($45). Soft twill trousers in a cropped cut also work after dark ($98). They'll go nicely with a white blouse and yellow calf-hair drivers ($147.95). Or, for a punch of color, pack this sleeveless button-down in a lemon chartreuse ($129.50).
Both swank Capri and more rugged Cilento National Park make for easy day trips from the Amalfi Coast. Dress for function, style, and versatility, by packing light turquoise twill shorts ($75), a striped henley tee ($14.95), and sunglasses by Italian brand Super in classic tortoiseshell ($199). For a few extra options, beige and white shorts in striped cotton ($155) will be airy and refreshing, particularly when paired with a short sleeve red popover ($69.50) or linen turquoise button-down ($80). Don't forget your trunks. Dive into the Med in these mid-length swim shorts in a sophisticated rust red print ($185).
Specializing in handmade pasta and frutti di mare, La Carcara in the town of Amalfi has sea views and fine fare. Dress for dinner in a white and blue button down in a playful dot print ($108), straight leg white twill pants ($178), and suede oxfords in a light beige hue ($59.50). If wearing head-to-toe white is outside your comfort zone, swap in these dark rinse jeans instead ($69.95). Then, loop on this brown woven leather belt ($148.50) as an accent. For more casual evenings, bring this muted blue and black sweatshirt that feels more sporty than sloppy ($220). Lastly, tote your euros in this handsome blue card case ($198) by old school Italian brand Salvatore Ferragamo.
The towns of Amalfi and Positano are your best bets for finding a range of places to rest your head. In Amalfi, the pricey Santa Caterina hotel ($1,000/night and up) continues to wow. The 5-star property has played host to Liz Taylor and Richard Burton, as well as the Brangelina crew. For less stratospheric prices, the petite Villa Lara (from $200/night) hits all the right notes and offers charm to spare.
In Positano, there are several world-class properties, like the Hotel Palazzo Murat, an 18th century converted palace with immaculate grounds and top-notch restaurant. Meanwhile, beach lovers may prefer the Hotel Buca di Bacco just a stone's throw from the shore. Ask the front desk staff to arrange any boat tours or ferry rides to Capri.
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