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Dolce Vita an der Amalfiküste, Bild: Josef Bauer

Dolce Vita on the Amalfi Coast

About Mediterranean happiness on the Sorrento Peninsula and the places of longing on the Amalfi Coast

Anyone who visits the Italian Amalfi Coast south of Naples on the Sorrento Peninsula will not be able to forget it in a hurry. The drive on the coastal road “Amalfitana”, one of the world’s most beautiful panoramic routes, enchants with its magnificent views of the sea and the spectacular coast. The picturesque little villages that nestle against the rocks along the peninsula enchant with their unmistakable ambience and their largely unadulterated nature. Goethe was already seduced by this and created a new world with his question “Do you know the land where the lemons bloom…” an early manifesto of enthusiasm for Italy and thus also for a region that is one of the most popular holiday areas in Europe. Of course, lemons also grow in other countries, but with this poetic monument, the Amalfi Coast can be described as a place of longing in a special way.

The Sorrento Peninsula

The city of Sorrento, which gives its name to the peninsula on the Gulf of Naples , shines with the sun with its southern charm. The wonderful view over the Gulf of Naples, the striking silhouette of Vesuvius and over to the island of Ischia are among the unique moments to be enjoyed. The best thing to do is with one of those red or orange aperitifs that are part of the extremely pleasant must-see in the late afternoon, and to which a delicious selection of small delicacies is often served. This is Italian culture, has style and class and occasionally even replaces dinner. A visit to a cool lemon grove should be at least as important. Lemons are in season here more or less all year round, and visitors can look forward to some unknown surprises in the size and taste of the yellow citrus fruits.

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Above Sorrento stretches a pretty rural landscape with small hamlets, individual farmhouses and villas, lemon plantations and olive groves. Often you can see the sea, sometimes at the same time the Gulf of Naples and opposite the Gulf of Salerno in the south. Pretty walks and hikes are available here. The tours are effortless to walk, but not quite as varied and exciting as the paths on the Amalfi Coast on the other side of the peninsula.

The spectacular Amalfi Coast

View of Positano, Amali Coast
View of Positano, Image: Josef Bauer

Over on the southern coastline, the Amalfi Coast offers the most spectacular views of the glittering sea in the Gulf of Salerno. A trip on the Amalfitana, as the coastal road between Salerno and Positano is called, is like a fascinating adventure. Thanks in part to its bold course along the steep rock faces, it is one of the most exciting coastal roads in the world. And rightly so, because the beauty of this steeply sloping rocky coast, in whose gorges and inlets there are small enchanting towns, is unique.

From Salerno, the old port city, whose charm is often only revealed at second glance, the Amalfitana leads through small towns such as Vietri sul Mare, Maiori, Atrani, the eponymous main town of Amalfi and the famous Positano with its magnificent 180-degree panoramic location on the mountainside. Most of this stretch of coastline is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and each of these towns has its own character and charm. Unfortunately, there are only a few beaches here and if there are, they are small and often very frequented in summer.

Then perhaps it would be better to take a detour to the striking hinterland of the mountainous peninsula with its mountain range up to 1,400 metres high, because above the Amalfitana, numerous hiking trails or former mule tracks as well as a popular long-distance hiking trail invite you to explore and discover. The mountain range is partly a nature reserve and belongs to the regional park Parco regionale dei Monti Lattari.

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Excursions to Capri and Pompeii

Ceramics Amalfi Coast
Ceramics lovers feel very much at home on the Amalfi Coast, Image: Josef Bauer

How about an interesting day trip to Mount Vesuvius with the famous archaeological sites of Pompeii or Herculaneum? The volcano and the historic excavation sites are not on the direct route, but offer the best illustrative material from an exciting phase of the Roman Empire and can be reached in a short distance.

The world-famous island of Capri is very close. Not only because of the sung fishermen and the red sun, which reliably sinks into the sea every evening, the trip there with one of the many excursion boats is an absolute “must”. This is also the view of the international jet set, which in recent years has once again felt strongly attracted to this place of longing and its beauties. But if the Blue Grotto on Capri, for example, is too crowded, the Grotta della Smeraldo near Amalfi is a real alternative, which can also be visited there with small rowing boats. If you are lucky, you will be surprised not only by the fascinating blue light effects, but also with an Italian “Oh Sole mio” in good acoustics.

Lemons are also encountered on these excursions: often in the form of sweets or in liquid form as limoncello, the well-known sweet lemon liqueur, which is just as suitable as an original holiday souvenir as one of the typical ceramic works from the area, which are offered in a variety of designs and in any case need to be packed in a shatterproof way before going home.

The Sorrento Peninsula, as well as the islands and the places described in the Gulf of Naples, can be easily reached through a good network of daily connections with scheduled and excursion boats. The best times to visit this wonderful southern Italian region are May and June, and from the end of August until well into October, where there are still very stable periods of late summer weather. Maybe the lemons will no longer bloom, but the Dolce Vita, the proverbial Italian attitude to life, can then be enjoyed in a very relaxed way.