Starting from the ports of either Naples, Salerno, Positano, or Sorrento, after about 75 minutes of driving you'll reach the famous Amalfi Coast, an outstanding example of Mediterranean landscape and Italy's most scenic coastline. The most famous towns along the coast are Positano, Amalfi and Ravello. These towns have inspired artists for centuries.
Probably the best description of Positano was made by John Steinbeck in his first trip to this town. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes real after you have gone. the houses are located on a hill so steep it would normally be considered a cliff except that stairs are cut in to the hillside. Most house foundations are vertical, while in Positano they are horizontal. The small curving bay of unbelievably blue and green water laps gently on a beach of small pebbles. There is only one narrow street and it does not come down to the water. Everything else is stairs, some of them as steep as ladders. You do not walk to visit a friend, you either climb or slide.
Amalfi was an independent republic from the 7th century until the year 1075, and rivaled with Pisa and Genoa for prosperity and maritime importance in the Mediterranean.The most important monuments are the Cathedral of St. Andrew, originally built in 11th C. in Arabian-Sicilian style. There are many old elements located in the Cathedral like the famous bronze doors imported from Constantinople and the Chapel of Crucified. The rich facade is decorated with mosaics and is a reconstruction from the 18th century. The interior, thoroughly restored, consists of a nave, aisles, and chapels. From the forth chapel on the right a flight of steps descends to the crypt, built in 1253. Below the altar rests the body of St. Andrew the Apostle, brought here from Constantinople in 1208, as evidence of the participation of Amalfi to the IV Crusade.
Located 1100 feet above the see level, Ravello was founded in the 9th century under the rule of Amalfi. The town is a garden of beauty, full of art, history, and flowers. The main square is dominated by the Duomo of St. Pantaleone, built in the 1086. The facade has three portals. In the central one are the famous bronze doors sculpted by Barisano Da Trani in 1180. On one side of the square is the entrance to Villa Rufolo, an example of Norman-Saracenic buildings from the 11th century. Partly in ruins, the palace is surrounded by a famous tropical garden. A short walk from the square is Villa Cimbrone, with a beautiful lush garden. At the end of this garden is the famous Belvedere Cimbrone, the furthest point of the ridge on which Ravello lies. Every year from early April to the end of October the gardens of Villa Rufolo are home to the prestigious Ravello Music Festival, which is one of the oldest music festivals in Italy.