Stretching along the coast from Sorrento to Salerno, the Amalfi Coast provides a spectacular view of the sharp contrast between a colorful and steep rocky shoreline and the very blue water of the Tyrrhenian Sea. The towns in between, including Majori, Minori, Ravello, Amalfi, Praiano, and Positano, attract tourists from all over the world. Not far from Naples, Vesuvius, Herculaneum, and Pompeii, it is easy to see why so many travelers are drawn to both the history and beauty of this part of Italy. Amalfi holds historical significance as well. It is one of the former Italian Maritime Republics, along with Venice, Pisa, and Genoa. However, in 1137 Amalfi was sacked by the Republic of Pisa.
Janet, my cousin Pia, and I stayed in a bed and breakfast in Majori. The rooms were old and run-down, but we did not go there to spend time inside looking at the walls. The view of the Tyrrhenian Sea from our veranda was first-rate, and ferries connecting Majori to the other towns along the coast as well as Capri were convenient, although we wished that they ran more frequently. Majori is a cool town on the beach circuit, and on a warm day the mini-cabanas arranged along the grey tone sand are full-up with people soaking up the sun and planning their next shopping excursion. However, when the crowd goes away and the sun is sinking low, the emptiness on the beach is a bit haunting.
Those that do not like to be out at sea on a ferry (although not very far from land) can always risk their lives and sanity by hiring a driver to provide transportation from town to town. Check out the cliffs in the next picture, and you can begin to imagine what it would be like to be exceeding the speed limit while going up and down, in and out along the roadway. Switchbacks are marked, or not, creating a sense of adventure, and terror for those who do not care for this kind of excitement. For the faint of heart, or those with queasy stomachs, take your medication and tighten your seat belt.
I would write more about these places, but pictures tell the best stories. Positano is my new favorite town. Colorful houses, apartments, shops, and churches can be seen from the ferry many miles before arrival. At dockside, travelers come in all sizes, shapes, ages, and colors, and all seem to be in a festive mood. The winding and steep streets provide a good workout. Along the ascent there are plenty of places to eat, shop or simply observe. The churches and the art galleries are very impressive, bringing together old world art with contemporary works that are often stunning. If you plan to buy art, I suggest that you visit your bank or credit union to secure the needed funds. As someone once said, “it ain’t cheap.” One of the art specialties found in Positano is ceramic tile-covered furniture, particularly table tops. Janet and I were tempted to buy, but we decided to pass, this time.
One last item. There is always a sign somewhere in my travel that I cannot stop thinking about. So, here it is, but it has two parts. The first one I get. They don’t want us falling, diving, jumping, belly flopping, or otherwise entering the water while not in a boat. Boats are constantly going in and out of the harbor, and it is a dangerous place for swimmers. The second part of the sign is more puzzling. Why does someone need to be told or reminded by sign not to drive their car into the ocean? It seems so obvious. What am I missing?