During our visit to beautiful Positano on the Amalfi Coast, we decided to take a trip to nearby Amalfi Town. We’d heard that driving the Amalfi Coast road is often a hair-raising experience – and the reports weren’t wrong.
From the top of Via Cristoforo Columbo, one of the main roads through Positano, we caught the coastal bus. Due to the narrow road, there’s no real bus stop. You have to be sure you’re waiting at the right time, as the bus just stops and you have to get on while the traffic waits behind the bus!
There are a number of tunnels along the road which only accommodate one vehicle at a time. This meant the bus had to stop while cars coming the other way passed or backed up to let the bus through. The road is very windy, and at times, we felt as though we may tip over the edge and tumble down into the sea, but we managed to make it to Amalfi in one piece.
On arrival, we were surprised by the large number of buses parked in the square. Apparently, the tourist buses pay upwards of 50 euros per hour to park while they wait for the tour groups to return! As Amalfi Town is the most accessible for large vehicles and parking, it’s a popular place for tourists and day-trippers.
We wandered up into the heart of the town, where the Duomo, or cathedral, is located. Built between 1000 and 1300, the Cathedral is “Amalfi Romanesque in style”, which is a mix of Moorish and Byzantine styles. Beyond the imposing wide staircase, there’s a fancy black and white striped neo-Byzantine façade which was added in the 19th Century. The impressive bronze front door is over 1000 years old and was brought to Amalfi from Constantinople in Turkey.
The original 9th century church is now a museum filled with art treasures from days gone by, when Amalfi Town was a wealthy and important centre of commerce. Paper was the main industry and there’s even a paper museum, Museo della Carta.
The town centre itself is quite small, and the cobblestone streets are lined with lots of little shops selling everything from clothes to handbags, jewellery and souvenirs, as well as food – of course. After looking around the heart of the town and wandering the shops for a while, we chose a tasty looking panini each and sat down to eat at a sidewalk cafe. Of course, dessert consisted of gelato, which was so delicious!! 🙂
As it was Saturday when we visited, it was quite a busy, so eventually we decided to escape the hordes of people and made our way down to the beach area, which was much less crowded than the heart of town. In Summer, the beach is the place to be, but we visited in early Spring, so only the brave were up for a swim in the chilly water.
In the piazza down by the beach, we found a statue of Flavio Gioia, a native of Amalfi Town. Flavio is credited with the invention of the magnetic compass by locals, however this is disputed by others.
Later, we made our way to the wharf, where we boarded the ferry to make our way back to Positano. If you visit the Amalfi Coast, I highly recommend you travel along both the Amalfi Coast Road and by boat. You gain a totally different perspective from both modes of transport.
The ferry allowed us to see how Amalfi Town is set in a ravine, similar to Positano, with steep hills right behind the town. Set above the town, we noted the famous Grand Hotel Convento di Amalfi, a former 13th century monastery with captivating views over the Amalfi Coast. It is now an upmarket hotel with elegant rooms offering balconies and terraces to drink in the views. It’s definitely on the indulgent side, but would certainly be worth considering if you wanted to spoil yourself.
Further along the coast, we saw ancient stone ramparts, built to protect the locals from invasion in times past. The geography of the coastline was also amazing, with several large caves and an incredible pathway leading down to the water, which appeared to have been carved out of stone.
We returned to Positano in time to explore a little more of this beautiful place before enjoying a pizza and glass of red wine as we watched the sun set over the sea.
Have you been to Amalfi Town? Did you visit for the day or did you stay there? Please feel free to let me know in the comments below.
Linking up with Lyn & Steve from A Hole In My Shoe for #TheWeeklyPostcard
Also linking up with Rhonda @ Albom Adventures for #WkendTravelInspiration