It’s an open secret: The Amalfi Coast is the gift that keeps on giving.
Born-and-bred locals, die-hard regulars, and first-time visitors alike are swept up in the magic of Italy’s southern coastal charms. Picture this: Early morning swims, meandering walks in the cliffs, and, of course, glamorous seaside lunches — with fresh-caught fish, crisp bottles of Falanghina, and stone fruit ripened with the breeze from Mount Vesuvius.
That it’s tough to reach (travelers often take multiple forms of planes, trains, automobiles, and boats) only makes landing on its rocky shores that much more satisfying.
But whereto once the trek is made? Most visitors head to the attention-grabbing Capri and Positano, but those who want to get off the well-worn tourist path will discover a quiet elegance in the small cliffside towns of Praiano, Conca dei Marini, and Furore, and should consider doing so after the tourist season. Fall is a particularly spectacular time when the water is warmer than the air, the tourists have thinned out, and the locals finally have a chance to relax.
The understated fishing village of Praiano, midway between Amalfi and Positano, is sophisticated but simple, and often overlooked by tourists. It’s home to pastel cottages, majolica-tiled shrines, rugged rock cliffs, and Pathway of the Gods, a historic hiking route with incredible vistas of the Tyrrhenian Sea.
The town is known for its steep, impressive stairways, which lead down to peaceful Vettica Beach, 300 feet below the town’s center, and all the way up to Piazza San Gennaro, with its sweeping panoramas of the Amalfi Coast and Capri.
But the piece de resistance is the sunset — which, according to locals, is the best on the Amalfi Coast thanks to the town’s optimal west-facing position. The place to perch is La Gavitella Beach (just beneath Casa Angelina, reachable by elevator plus 200 steps) because it affords sun worshippers long hours of daylight and clear, unparalleled views of the sun dropping below the horizon line. With Positano and the Faraglioni rocks of Capri in the distance, it’s a front-row seat to Mother Nature’s most popular show.