Amalfi is a charming coastal town of around 6,000 inhabitants on the Italian Gulf of Salerno, about 60 km southeast of Naples. Its dramatic scenery, lovely beaches and sunny Mediterranean climate led to it becoming a much-favoured holiday resort with wealthy tourists during the 1920s. Along with neighbouring Positano and Ravello it is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The area is famous for producing Limoncello liqueur from locally grown lemons.
Amalfi’s history goes back to the 6th century when it was an influential trading port. It has some splendid examples of mediaeval architecture including the 11th century baroque cathedral dedicated to St Andrew, the campanile (bell tower), the convent of the Cappuccini and two monasteries which are now used as luxury hotels. Unfortunately much of the old city was lost to the sea during a devastating earthquake in 1343 but there are still many winding streets, historic archways and ancient piazzas for visitors to explore.
Pastel-coloured buildings and whitewashed houses on the steep cliffs overlook Amalfi’s fine beaches which are popular for snorkeling, sunbathing and boat trips. The Emerald Grotto sea cavern is a popular attraction nearby. Cultural attractions include the unusual Handmade Paper Museum, the magnificent Town Hall and the open-air Cloister of Paradise with its 100 carved columns, Arabic-style façade and sarcophagi.
The best time to visit Amalfi is during one of the annual festivals. The Regatta is held early in June, St Andrew’s Festival is in late June and the Byzantine New Year is celebrated on 31 August.