The Amalfi Coast is a unique place, where time seems to assume a quite different dimension. A stretch of coast dotted with thirteen towns, each of which, for centuries, has attracted a steady flow of the most illustrious visitors: from venerated artists and politicians to the most glamorous members of the international jet-set.

Travelling along the SS163 highway, otherwise known as the Nastro Azzuro (Blue Ribbon), we pass through the stunning scenery of the Lattari Mountains: a spectacular series of rocks which lurch in to the sea so as to form a dramatically beautiful indented coastline characterised by steep gorges, secluded coves and tiny bays. Behind each and every hairpin bend, breathtaking views of the rocks and the sea await our arrival. As do the picturesque fishing villages of the Amalfi Coast.

The first town we meet on our exhilarating journey along the SS163 is that of Positano. A much sought after destination for a dream holiday, Positano's picturesque historic center is situated in the higher part of the town and linked to the beaches below by a seemingly infinite number of steps. By late spring the crystal clear waters which lap the numerous inlets and secluded coves dotted around the bay of Positano are already invitingly warm.

Immediately after Positano we come to Praiano, a small town linked to Amalfi during the period of the Maritime Republics. Less famous than Positano, but equally popular amongst the rich and famous, Praiano is a delightful little town which boasts a spectacular setting and some of the region's most highly acclaimed eateries: restaurants where to savour superb fish and seafood specialities, but also dishes prepared using the delicious local tomatoes, dairy products, and citrus fruits.

Our journey continues towards the miniscule villages of Furore and Conca dei Marini. Furore is also known as the "painted town" thanks to the numerous murals which adorn the walls of the houses. First recorded mention of the little town, which counts a total of just 800 inhabitants, dates back to 1752.
Conca dei Marini is known above all for the splendid Grotta dello Smeraldo, a karst cave the waters of which are tinged with a spectacular emerald hue. The ceiling of the cave is more than 20 meters high.

Once in Amalfi, town which has lent its name to the entire stretch of coast from Positano to Vietri sul Mare, it is easy to understand why it has been awarded World Heritage Site status by UNESCO. A charming maze of winding lanes and narrow alleyways opens out to reveal views of the cathedral dedicated to St Andrew, the saint whose relics are still conserved within this magnificent house of worship.

The town of Ravello is another jewel of the Amalfi Coast, known on an international scale for the Music Festival held here each year. Ravello is also famous for its elegant villas, such as Villa Cimbrone which boasts a view of the Gulf of Salerno described by Gore Vidal as the most beautiful in the whole world. Villa Rufolo is also worthy of mention. The origins of the building date back to the medieval period although its was completely restructured in the 19th century. Known locally as the Villa of 365 Rooms, this sumptuous residence is characterised by its elaborate concoction of Arabian and Byzantine-style décor.

Minori and Maiori are two towns rich in history and tradition. Minori was much loved by the Romans, the presence of whom can be traced in various archaeological sites including that of a Villa dating back to the 1st century B.C. In 1943 Maiori was chosen by the Anglo-American troops as landing site during Operation Avalanche. Today Maiori hosts a number of well-attended festivals including the Maiori Carnival and the Rossellini Film Festival, this latter held in honour of the Neorealist film director who filmed many of his most important movies here in Maiori.

Our journey draws to a close in Vietri sul Mare, once an ancient Etruscan settlement and now a popular seaside resort, famous since the 16th century as prolific producer of quality ceramics and majolica.