The Amalfi Coast
The Amalfi Coast is one of the world’s most famous stretches of seaside, and for good reason. The rugged coast extends from Positano to Salerno on the southern side of the Sorrentine Peninsula. Mountains form the backdrop and result in precipitous winding roads and terraced towns that cascade towards the sea. The main town of Amalfi is a key tourist base and ancient trading port with the highly decorated Duomo di Amalfi cathedral at its heart. Campania holidays must include a visit to this quintessential area, a Unesco World Heritage site since 1997.
In the north-west part of the Sorrentine Peninsula is Sorrento, a town where you wake up to the smell of delicious Italian coffee, sea breezes and lemon. Lemons form a big part of Sorrento culture, and as you explore the backstreets of the centro storica (historic centre), you’ll encounter many shops selling limoncello, a traditional liqueur made with the zest of St Theresa or Sorrento lemons. Boutiques also sell other goods from the local craft traditions of ceramics and marquetry, all wonderful souvenirs of holidays in Campania. After a meal at one of Sorrento’s fine restaurants, stroll along the cliffs overlooking the marina, with views of the bay of Naples and Vesuvius.
Vesuvius looms over Pompeii, a remarkable town offering a snapshot of Ancient Roman life. Holidays to Italy must at some point take you to Pompeii, one of the world’s most important archaeological sites. It was lost beneath ash and pumice stone when Vesuvius erupted in 79AD; excavations began in 1748. Walking the town’s streets, visiting its houses, shops, bakeries, bathhouses, temples and arena is a truly remarkable experience and one rich in history. With Vesuvius brooding in the distance, you can easily imagine life – and death – here two millennia ago.
No less important that the ruins of Pompeii are those of Herculaneum. Slightly different to its sister city, this ancient fishing port was so widely covered by Vesuvius’ surging hot mud that even wood was preserved. Although evacuations started here a decade before those at Pompeii, the living town on top prevents the site from being completely revealed. When you visit, you’ll be amazed to see modern Ercolano looming over you, built on the thick layer of volcanic material. The day-to-day existence of the town comes to life via preserved paintings, mosaics and even adverts and graffiti.
Capri and Ischia
With all the history in Campania, you may want to take to the sea for fresh air and a visit to some of the Bay of Naples’ famed islands. You can catch a ferry to Capri, a town legendary for its beauty and class. Everything you might want from Campania holidays can be found here: stunning, rugged coastlines, beaches lapped by azure seas and picturesque towns with handsome palazzi and villas. Further north is the larger island of Ischia, which you can reach by ferry. Similarly stunning, Ischia also features the beautiful Aragonite Castle, locally produced wines and a selection of spas with natural thermal baths.
Holidays in Campania, Italy, offer so much within its very pleasing climate. There’s iconic scenery in the form of mountains, coastal cliffs, islands, beaches and the ever-present volcano Vesuvius. There are literal walks through history, with Greek and Roman ruins scattered throughout the region but most exemplified in Pompeii and Herculaneum. Typical of Italy, the food is sumptuous, most notably in Naples, the home of pizza.