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The Amalfi Coast: Amalfi, Positano and Ravello

The Amalfi Coast: Amalfi, Positano and Ravello

Feb 3rd, 2006, 04:14 PM
  #1  
ABENDIGO
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The Amalfi Coast: Amalfi, Positano and Ravello

Hi! I'm going to stay three nights on the Amalfi Coast (Based on Amalfi town) and I was wondering what is there to see. I can't seem to find a good bookguide concerning the Amalfi Coast; all of them only say to wander through the streets of Positano and visit its main cathedral; visit the Duomo Sant'Andrea in Amalfi; and visit the Villas Rufolo and Cimbrone, and the Duomo in Ravello. Are those the sites? Or the charm of those three towns consists mainly on walking their streets and enjoying their atmosphere? Can anybody recommend me a good bookguide focused mainly on Capri and The Amalfi Coast? Any tips on what else to visit based on your own experience? Thanks!


 
Feb 3rd, 2006, 04:27 PM
  #2  
 
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Well, the Fodors mini guide (see destinations at the top of this forum) is the perfect start. It gives you a great view of what the area has to offer. Also, do a search here in talk because there is plenty of information from the posters on what they liked (and didn't). Cut and paste the info of interest into a document using whatever word processing format you use.

Lonely Planet has a good guide of the Amalfi Coast. Try also amalficoastweb.com for info. We also used Frommers Italy (I know it encompasses more than you want, but is helpful) as is Fodors Italy.

Also go to caprionline.com for information on Capri.

Our idea of this area was just relax, swim and explore. That, to us was best done on the water, by boat. Going in and out of coves, jumping off the boat and swimming to shore and snorkeling, and lying on the beach. Taking the bus around was also fun and an adventure in itself.
Surfergirl is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2006, 09:43 PM
  #3  
DiG
 
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Hi ABENDIGO:

I noticed you posted same twice.
It is easy for posts to disappear as others are entered.

When you want to repost just go down to the bottom and click
"jump to top", abbreviated 'TTT'.

I've only been as far as Sorrento and Capri so I can't contribute to your planing. Type your destinations into the search box and you'll receive more info' than you can imagine.
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Feb 4th, 2006, 04:50 AM
  #4  
ira
 
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Hi A,

> Or the charm of those three towns consists mainly on walking their streets and enjoying their atmosphere?<

Yup.

The scenery is not without interest.

ira is offline  
Feb 4th, 2006, 09:13 AM
  #5  
ABENDIGO
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Do you think those three nights basing in Amalfi town are enough to explore and enjoy those three towns? Thanks again.
 
Feb 4th, 2006, 09:20 AM
  #6  
 
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Yes, it's all about the scenery and soaking up the atmosphere. You didn't mention what time of year you'll be visiting the AC .... I've been there during spring/fall with pleasant weather & fewer crowds than during the height of the summer (July/Aug).

FYI, here's the link to your original thread on this topic >>> http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34749050
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Feb 4th, 2006, 09:47 AM
  #7  
ABENDIGO
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I'll be there the first week of July plus 4 nights on Capri. I was planning on adding an extra night to visit Ischia. What place would be best to visit on Ischia as a day trip from Capri? I've read that Ischia Ponte and Sant'Angelo are beautiful villages. Any suggestions? I love visiting villages.
 
Feb 5th, 2006, 06:48 AM
  #8  
 
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The reason to go to the Amalfi Coast is the scenery. The cliffs towering over the water, and the villages tumbling down to the water (in the case of Positano) or perched high above it (Ravello). Just walking through the streets, checking out the small shops, stopping at a cafe or restaurant, are the reasons to go to these towns. Each of Amalfi, Positano and Ravello takes anywhere from an hour to half a day to "see" depending on how many shops you go into, how long you linger over lunch or coffee, how many hotels you pop into, and how many small churches you visit. In Ravello, you should also see either the gardens at Villa Cimbrone and Villa Rufolo, and in Amalfi the Duomo. By the way, I don't understand the usual stated preference for Cimbrone, since Rufolo's flowering gardens are currently much larger and in better condition and also have terrific views. You could actually do all three towns in one day. The most dramatic sight of the Amalfi Coast is driving along the high coastal road by bus--not recommended for those who have vertigo. Go in one direction in the morning, and then at sunset, seeing Positano as it lights up -- keep your camera handy. As for Capri, we were there for a week and loved it. In one day you can see Capri town (no must see sights here except the central plaza) and do the hike to Villa Jovis (this is a must for the scenery and history). The second day, a trip to Anacapri for more shopping, Axel Munthe's house (views and gardens-house is not much to see), and a fun round trip on the chair lift to the top of Monte Solaro. The third day, take a boat trip around the island (no need to take a private tour--the group tours are much cheaper and go to all the same places including the various grottos), and spend the afternoon at the beach. We were in the area for two weeks and went to Ischia on our last day. It was the most laid back and has the fewest "sights" of anyplace we went to in the two weeks we were on the Amalfi Coast. This is more a destination for those who want to relax at their hotels and take the waters. A minibus tour operator was waiting at the dock when we got off the ferry and took us around half the island. Not sure I'd recommend Ischia for a day trip over some of the other options. It would be different if you were staying there for a week or so. You don't mention Pompeii or Paestum, but both those are worth visiting. In addition, on our last trip, we went a bit farther afield and did a day trip to Monte Cassino and Caserta Palace, which are a bit out of the area. That trip was one of my favorite days. As for a guidebook, you really don't need to know more than the online Fodors guide. The one thing we did not get to do on either of our trips is the walk from Ravello down to Amalfi. There are also a number of other hiking opportunities both in Capri and on the Amalfi Coast.
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Feb 6th, 2006, 03:40 PM
  #9  
ABENDIGO
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Thanks Gabriele! I've changed my itinerary a little bit.

I'm going to stay:

3 nights on Ischia (one day to visit "Borgo di Celso" and "Castello Aragonese" in Ischia Ponte and maybe spend some time on the beach, and one day to visit Naples.

4 nights in Capri to do excatly what you've just said!

3 nights on the Amalfi Coast (one day to visit Positano and maybe spend sometime on the beach, and one day to visit Ravello and Amalfi, and do the Ravello-Atrani-Amalfi walk.

Well, it's plan of what I'd like to do in each place. I've been doing some reading about the area to have an idea of what to do once I'm there and it's very similar to what you've said, so that means I'm on the right track!

Thanks for sharing your itinerary with me!

By the way, I was thinking of spending only three nights on Capri (not 4)since I'll arrive there around noon (The Ischia-Capri ferry is supposed to leave around 11 AM according to a ferry schedule I found on the internet). Do you think that your Capri itinerary is doable in 2 and a half days (3 nights)? Or I'd enjoy more my stay on Capri if do that same itinerary in 3 and a half days (4 nights).

I'd really appreciate your comments/tips/advice concerning this Capri issue!
 
Feb 7th, 2006, 06:36 AM
  #10  
ira
 
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ttt
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Feb 8th, 2006, 04:44 PM
  #11  
 
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If you will be on the Amalfi coast the first week of July, you HAVE to travel to Montepertuso on July 2nd.

See my comments from my trip report (2004) below:
THE MONTEPERTUSO MADONNA FESTIVAL:
We had heard there would be a "festiva" on July 2nd in Montepertuso (pierced mountain), a part of Positano, but high up on the hill, with a religious parade and fireworks. It is one of those Madonna vs. the Devil, Madonna wins festivals, which is aptly described in the Fodors mini guides at, you guessed it, Fodors.com. Practice shots started piercing the air the night before, which echoed the hills.

We like festivals, especially foreign ones with local people having a good time. At the hotel reception, we made reservations at La Tagliata, located at Via Tagliata 14, and they came to pick us up. The ride up to Montepertuso was hair-raising. We were picked up across the street from the farmacia by a friendly woman in a mini van. The only thing bigger than mini vans in this area are the busses.

The ride up to the top of the hill, where we had gone on the bus the night before, was not so bad. That was before we hit the Monterpertuso cut-off. This was followed by a hair-pin turn up the mountain further in the direction of Montepertuso. The views were grand; the size of the road wasn't. Back and forth up the mountain; when passing a bus, everything halted: side mirrors were folded in, they passed, then unfolded. Because this was a festival night, there was much more traffic, including young vespa drivers and their usually female partners, zigzaging in between cars, busses, and our minivan, less than an inch to spare between them. As we neared the town, people had parked cars on this less than two car width of roadway. Driving entailed knowing the exact length and width of the car, bus, or mini-van, as well as knowledge of where all the driveways are. Lines of cars going down the hill were backing up into the side of the hill to let us pass. At one point, our driver backed down the hill and took a turn, backwards, into a driveway, to let a bus pass. At times, we were so close to the car passing, it didn't seem possible anyone would make it out of the tangle unscathed. Our driver, very familiar with this hill had high hopes; talking and yelling at passing drivers, turning around to us and smiling and laughing; way better than an e-ticket ride at Disneyland. We then plowed through the town, all lit up with lights, band music playing, people walking, street vendors with festival wares set up; popcorn and cotton candy being made. We continued up the hill and finally, we were there.

La Tagliata is on the sea side of the hill. It has an expansive outdoor patio area, and a large inside area with a big grill in the middle of it. It is known for their meats. It has big open windows looking down the hill to Montepertuso town, to Positano and the sea. What a view!

Next to us was an Italian family of four; all sharing various items on the menu, like at home. We followed their lead. We shared a mixed antepasto with crusty potatoes, ham and cheese and other little bits of good stuff that we did not dare to ask what was in it; followed by four types of pasta in tomato sauces on a big plate that we passed around; then a mixed grill and lamb dish. The lamb was fabulous! We saw the chef cooking our meal on the big grill, and pouring some liquid over it that contained herbs. While we were eating, we could hear the music playing in the churchyard down the mountain in the town. Cost was 81,00 euro for the four of us.

We asked the waiter to hold off on getting the driver, because we wanted to walk down the hill to enjoy the festivities there. He gave us the card of the driver, and told us to simply call them when we were ready to go back down. It was our only way, we thought, since the bus schedule from Positano showed that the last bus would leave Montepertuso at 10:30 that night, unless there was a special bus because of the festivities.

We walked down the hill, passing lit up Virgin Marys along the road, in the dark, with the full moon. We had small flashlights and used them, although the full moon helped light the way. This gave us the chance to continue looking at the beautiful views, hear the laughter and music coming from below, and work off our meal.

We hadn't bothered with dessert, so I tried my first Italian cotton candy -- messy, but delicious. It has the same color and flavor as our familiar cotton candy, but it seemed more compact and easier to manage -- saying this as a cotton candy connoisseur.

The stalls had tons of cheap junk, plastic toys for the children, plastic kitchenware for the moms, and plastic pictures of Jesus for the religious folks. There were cheap silver jewelry stands, fruit stands with water dripping onto coconuts; and cheap candy stands containing a variety of Italian candy.

Periodic bangs came from above the town, but we didn't see the fireworks yet. We'd heard reports that it would take place either at 12 midnight or at 12:30 a.m. As it happened, they did it both times.

We stopped at the church, where throngs of people stood and sat outside listening to the local band, with many of the local teens playing and trying to play classical music as the conductor tried to reel them in. Proud parents videotaped their teens playing, while the younger children scampered about the grounds.

We continued walking down the hill to the bus stop at the fork in the road. There was a line of people waiting for the bus on the ledge that dropped down the hill. Scooters continued to fly up the hill, and a policeman had arrived to attempt to direct traffic at this spot. I wondered how the cars and scooters would get up and down the hill since everyone in town was in the street. Apparently like the street in Positano, it was one-way, with one stretch at the lower part of the town and circled around the top part of the town, meeting at this juncture where the policeman was directing traffic. Even though it was not on the schedule, the officer assured me a bus was coming "soon". We sat and waited. 2 taxis also waited. They appeared at first to be waiting for someone to give up on waiting for the bus, but it turned out at least one of them was waiting for passengers that called.

It was an interesting wait in any event. Cars were forced to turn around at this juncture, a very narrow stretch of the road, since they could not go up the lower route. As cars tried this feat, the police officer directed them so they wouldn't fall off the cliff, and others hanging out on the street came out to assist, everyone speaking loudly and quickly, hands waving. It was like watching an Italian comedy. The bus finally arrived, and the people who hadn't given up waiting for the bus all jumped up, only to discover the bus now had to turn around in this little area. More locals came out to help. It didn't seem possible that the bus could successfully make this maneuver without the rear of the bus falling off the ledge into the sea. It took a while, with cars and scooters backed up down the hill, more instructions, more yelling; two men behind the bus at the cliff's edge swearing there was more space to back up. The bus eventually stopped sideways on the road with about one foot of space in front of it, giving the teens on scooters the opportunity to continue their journey to the festival, one by one whizzing in front of the bus, looking a lot like tennis balls being shot out of a ball hop.

The bus finally turned around and we boarded. Standing on a big full bus on a narrow road, perched on a hill, with cars and scooters shooting up the hill. At least we were on the hill side of the hill. Going back down was another dance of danger. The bus caught steam and zigzagged past cars, scooters, hair-pin turns, while periodically grinding to a halt to allow cars in the other direction to fold in mirrors. At one point we stopped again, and were neck in neck with our restaurant driver heading back up the hill. I looked out of the bus and waved at her; she looked into the bus and smiled and waved at me, and we both did the "this is crazy!" sign and laughed. It continued to be an animated ride down the hill to the Positano cut-off. Once on the Positano road, things seemed to settle down, giving the bus driver the opportunity to pick up speed, throwing the passengers from one side to the other as the bus rounded more turns. At this point, midnight arrived, and the fireworks started. Bang, Bang, Bang, they shot off up the hill, and depending on where the bus was on the hill, we could see the fireworks or just hear them. We did get some spectacular views of the fireworks up the hill or the full moon and the sea on the other.

At 12:30, the mountain above burst into firework flames again, and we could see the show from the beach front. Amazing.

Surfergirl is offline  
Feb 9th, 2006, 12:46 AM
  #12  
ABENDIGO
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Wow! Quite an experience! although I'll be on The Amalfi Coast from July 7th to July 10th. I was planning on maybe (time allowing and if I'm not feeling tired) doing the Positano-Montepertuso walk (as some bookguides suggest). Thanks for sharing your experience Surfergirl!
 
Feb 11th, 2006, 10:32 AM
  #13  
ABENDIGO
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So I was thinking:

1. Would you rather base in Positano or in Amalfi town to visit the area?

2. Does anybody know of a nice hotel in Positano under 110 Euros for a double room per night?

3. It is doable to visit Amalfi and Ravello in one day calmly and enjoying it?

My idea is this: I was thinking of getting to Positano early in the morning from Capri, check in at the hotel and explore the town calmly and maybe stay on the beach for a couple of hours. The second day visit Amalfi and Ravello (only if it's doable. I don't want to be stressed out feeling I have to hurry up otherwise I won't have time to do Amalfi. However, that doesn't mean I want to visit every single little corner of each town). The third day visit Naples (Mostly "Spaccanapoli" and "Il Quartiere Spagnolo". I don't care for "Il Museo Archeologico Nazionale" or "Capodimonte").

Is this doable? I mean, I know it's doable, but I've never been there, so I don't know if it's hasty and tiring.

What do you think? Thanks for your help/advice/comments/tips!
 
Feb 11th, 2006, 12:18 PM
  #14  
ira
 
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Hi Ab,

You might want to look at Hotel Le Sirene in Praiano - abt 6 km E of Positano.

www.lesirene.com

You can see Amalfi and Ravello in one day. There is a bus between them, or you can take a cab.

It's about 2 hr by SITA bus from Positano to Naples.

Hope this helps.

ira is offline  
Feb 11th, 2006, 12:30 PM
  #15  
 
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Ravello is only a 20 minute bus ride up the hillside from Amalfi so to visit both Towns is very easy.The Ravello Atrani walk is very easy (all downhill).The Ravello to Amalfi walk via Minunta and Pontone and the Tore dello Ziro is a much more interesting walk if you have the time.The Tourist Ravello has a very good FREE walking guide and Map.The Sunflower guidebook that is otf mentioned is also extremely valuable for anyone contemplating going off the well trodden tourist trail
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Feb 11th, 2006, 01:13 PM
  #16  
ABENDIGO
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Thanks Gerardo and Ira! I have a better idea of how small those places are! I was thinking about getting the Sunflower Guidebook, since it seems to be the only book dedicated entirely to the Amalfi Coast.
 
Feb 12th, 2006, 04:39 AM
  #17  
 
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It's a great book and extremely accurate and regularly updated by the Author who is a regular visitor.Ensure you take walk number 16 to the Torre dello Ziro for spectacular views of Amalfi & Atrani from the highest viewpoint in absolute solitude except for the chuch bells of both Towns and the farway horns of the SITA buses as the negotiate the bends on the coast road
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Feb 12th, 2006, 06:40 AM
  #18  
ABENDIGO
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Does the "Sunflower" bookguide only have itineraries/walks around the towns on The Amalfi Coast or it also features walks/tips on what to see in the towns? That's the only reason why I still haven't gotten it.
 
Feb 12th, 2006, 07:00 AM
  #19  
 
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We stayed in Positano and WOW!

Also visit Capri and Ravello -they are fabulous.
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Feb 12th, 2006, 07:18 AM
  #20  
ira
 
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You are welcome, A.

Have a nice visit.

ira is offline  

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