25 Fun Facts About the Stunning Amalfi Coast
Italy is abundant with beauty. The rolling hills of Tuscany, the rich history scattered throughout places like Rome and Sicily, or the immense beauty of the Dolomites and Lake Como make Italy one of the best places to visit. But there’s something almost mysterious about the Amalfi Coast. Legend has it the sirens near the coast beckon you to never leave.
There's always something new to discover here, so I'm bringing you 25 fun facts about the stunning Amalfi Coast that will make you want to visit even more.
Running 25 miles along the south side of the Sorrentine Peninsula, the Amalfi Coast is arrestingly beautiful. Whether you’re picking lemons in Sorrento, driving above the crystal waters near Positano, or being serenaded in Ravello, this UNSECO heritage site is both exquisitely lovely and full of interesting history.
I remember my first trip to the Amalfi region, I was buzzing with excitement. I had seen so many images online and the area depicted in movies (like Wonder Woman and The Talented Mr. Ripley!) and I was worried it wouldn’t measure up to my imagination. But truly, the Amalfi Coast is even more beautiful in person. It’s hard to capture the whitewashed buildings shimmering on the coastline as boats bob on the water. It’s a place you truly must see for yourself.
Many legends and mysteries are surrounding this area, making it even more fascinating to visit!
I’ve found 25 facts about the Amalfi Coast and included some of my favorite images.
1. This is up for debate, of course, but it’s said that Sorrento invented limoncello. Capri argues they created it! The lemons on the Amalfi coast are huge and known as “Sfusato d’Amalfi.” They were used by sailors during long trips to prevent seasickness. Capri, however, did invent the Caprese salad!
2. Speaking of Limoncello, it’s often used as a digestive and should be darker in color and lightly tinged with green. The same goes for the color of olive oil!
3. Nearby, Mount Vesuvius stares down menacingly on a town it once wreaked havoc on, Pompeii. There’s still a chance that the mountain could erupt again! Around 2 million people live around the area and there isn’t a real plan in place to escape.
4. Capri’s most iconic sight is the Faraglioni, which are three towering rock formations that jut out just near the island. You can take a boat ride and pass through the small hole for good luck! The name “Faraglioni” comes from the Greek word pharos, which, in Italian means, “lighthouse.” In ancient times, they lit fires on top to help ships navigate.
5. You might also recognize the rock formations from a Dolce & Gabbana advertisement. Their scent “Light Blue” is featured prominently with the rock formations.
6. The Faraglioni are said to have been boulders thrown by the Greeks Cyclops Polyphemus to get his father, Neptune’s attention!
7. Buffalo Mozzarella cheese is produced from the milky mountains in this area and is best tasted right here, since it’s not as good if refrigerated!
8. Sorrento is known as the land of colors and land of sirens. According to the Greeks, Sirens live in the sea and will charm you with their bewitching singing. When they cast their spell it causes you to fall in love with the coast and you’ll return again!
9. Duomo di Amalfi is a medieval Roman Catholic cathedral in Amalfi, in the center of town. The cathedral is from the 9th century and is absolutely breathtaking both inside and out. The town of Amalfi dates back to the 6th century BC!
10. The Chiostro del Paradiso, or Cloister of Paradise, is attached to the cathedral and was originally built to be a cemetery for the noble families and contains an Arabian style garden. There are 120 columns and the gardens are full of palm trees.
11. Every 27th of June there’s a festival in Amalfi to commemorate St. Andrew (St. Andrea) and the miracle that occurred. On the same day in 1544, St. Andrew saved Amalfi from an attack by the Saracen fleet. During the festival, a silver statue of St. Andrew is carried through the streets, bringing him up the stone steps, into the church.
12. Ravello is known for its beautiful gardens. The romantic garden of Villa Rufolo, which famously served as an inspiration for Richard Wagner’s opera “Parsifal,” and Villa Cimbrone with its extravagant gardens, proclaimed by a famous writer Gore Vidal to be the most beautiful place ever visited.
13. Marina Grande is a small fishing village in Sorrento known for its wooden boats in all different colors. You’ll see them sailing and down in the harbor.
14. Positano is known as the “vertical town” since the buildings are carved right into the hill! You’ll get a workout from walking around here. Positano started as a fishing village, then became famous for its writers and artists, and now is known as a luxury destination.
15. In Capri, you should purchase sandals! Many famous celebrities like Jackie Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn, and Sophia Loren bought sandals here and you’ll see sandal makers everywhere. But the most famous boutique is Amedeo Canfora. Jackie Kennedy made a midnight visit to the sandal maker and ordered several pairs. But he made her a special pair that he called “K” that you can still get today.
16. Atrani is the smallest square in Italy and one of the best places to escape the crowds. Atrani has a surface area of only 0.12km, making it the smallest in Italy!
17. Scala is the oldest village of the Amalfi coast and a great place to go hiking. You’ll also discover the remains of medieval walls that protected the village during the middle ages. The coast was raided by pirates for centuries, which is why you’ll see towers all along the coast to warn of potential pirate attacks.
18. You can watch the opera in the center of town in Sorrento – the perfect way to spend an evening!
19. You can hike the Path of the Gods, or “Sentiero degli Dei” in Italian, in the village of Bomerano. The name comes from the Roman Temples that once lined the paths. This is one of the most dazzling views.
20. Legend says Positano was created by Poseidon, the Greek God of the sea. Also, the domes on top of the buildings in Positano are filled with sand! These white domes are filled with sand because it’s great at insulating the houses.
21. The island of Capri is known for its beautiful grottos. The most famous is the Blue Grotto, a sea cave with sunlight passing through the underwater cavity giving the water an almost mystical color. You'll have to go by boat to see them!
22. The Church of S. Maria della Lobra & Annunziata cathedral dates back to 1512! Located in Massa Lubrense, it’s right near Sorrento and a great spot for views.
23. The Natural Arch in Capri is the remains of a collapsed natural cavern where you can still see large stalactites clinging to the sides. This is also a place for one of the best views.
24. In the village of Cetara, you can try Colatura di Alici, a liquid produced from salted anchovies and used by the Ancient Romans as a dressing for all their food. It’s traditional to have a Christmas fish supper complete with colatura di alici.
25. Tiberius, the second Roman emperor, ruled the Roman empire from Capri for 11 years. His villa still remains on a cliff!
Bonus! It took 150 years to build the road on the coast. There’s one single road that goes for Sorrento to Amalfi (that can account for traffic during busy season!). This is called “Amalfi Drive” and was originally built by the Romans and then restored in the 1830s. It’s also been featured in movies like Gran Turismo 4 and Forza Motorsport.
Now, do you want to take a trip to the Amalfi coast?! Check out my full guide here.
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