Writing about the Amalfi Coast is always dangerous. The extraordinary beauty of this area, known to Italians as "La Costiera Amalfitana", over the centuries has drawn millions of visitors to savour the wonderful landscapes, the incredible views, the architectural treasures that dot the coast, and to enjoy the charming fishing villages that still maintain their special, local flavour.
The beauty of the Amalfi Coast is such that words pale to inspire the senses in the way that visiting does. It's an area which has drawn some of the world's most renowned literary figures, but reading and seeing are two entirely different things. You simply cannot know how beautiful it is until you get there.
What seems on a map to be mere line between the earth and the sea, in reality the Amalfi Coast is one of the most appreciated environmental, historic and artistic areas in the world. Since 1977, UNESCO has included this area as part of the Italian World Heritage Sites.
Yet, the Amalfi Coast, with the famous towns which inhabit its coves and slopes, unlike so many other areas in Italy has maintained an air of charming authenticity. The area still draws hundreds of thousands of Italian tourists each year - always a good sign.
The Amalfi Coast is synonymous with summer time, luxury and excursions from wherever you are to even more beautiful places. Whether you stay in Positano and venture to Capri or to Pompeii or Sorrento or Ischia, day trips to wherever from wherever are always pleasing.
Today, the Amalfi Coast is synonymous with holidays, but for centuries it has been home to fisherman and farmers, who apart from trying to get by and make a living, have also faced the threat of devastation. Throughout the centuries, they have been forced out of their homes following pirate attacks, first by the Saracens and then by the Ottomans. For almost three centuries, the middle of the 9th century to the first half of the 12th century, Amalfi had a leading role in a period of relative peace, prosperity and independence
Amalfi was one of the most important Maritime Republics and was one of the most important centres of trade in the Western Mediterranean.
In 1343, a violent earthquake destroyed a large part of the coastline. It devastated the small towns along the coast and in the mountains and left the region vulnerable to barbaric attacks. For centuries along the coast many lived in fear until the beginning of the 18th century.
Surrounded by steep rugged mountain cliffs 700 meters high, that drop dramatically into the deep blue Mediterranean sea, chances are after that after visiting this part of Italy you won't want to leave. It is often the favourite area of so many people who have visited, for the laid back feel, the astonishingly blue sea and the locals who are friendly and authentic.
As the famous American novelist John Steinbeck said "Positano bites deep" and the author himself ended up unable to leave Positano and spent over four months enjoying the coastal area and the various jazz clubs that once flourished in many of the fishing villages along the coast.
Is not only the locations of many of these residences that are mesmerizing, but the astounding gardens, terraces, lemon trees, olive and grape vines, and an array of flowers which surround them in an array of color.
One can feel the presence of a rich history and culture within the many towns along the coastal route. Take your pick of one or all towns to stop in, to breathe, taste and experience the magic of color, aroma of the sea and warmth of the people, on the Amalfi Coast.