I was just there this past summer! I've been there twice already and this summer was my second. I study in florence for the last 4 years and usually I head back every august, but this time my folks came to visit and I took them in to visit my favorite area in all of italy: AMALFI.
I don't mean to say, ONLY amalfi, I mean to say, everything around it, naples, pompeii, sorrento, amalfi, the coast, the beaches, capri, ecc..
Where should I start?
Well, I'll talk more about my experience than what is there just to give you and idea of things are there. all the names of the churches and hot spots you can find in guide book, but life style you have to be there to get an idea of it.
I'm not much into visiting monuments, I mean yeah i go there and see but I like seeing more little spots, hidden areas, little towns, thats more my style of visiting. for example there is a public beach in sorrento that is actually pretty hidden. there arent any signs nor nothign written in any of guide books, that explain where this hideout beach is. and the reason why I love is because its beautiful! the rock beach is located among some ancient roman ruins that dont appear at all to be maintained, so people go around it to the beach as if it never excisted. there is this real nice romantic hideout where its like a huge hole, at hte bottom touching sea level, the water is up to your waist and it's all covered by walls adn there is this little passage that directs you to the sea.
I was there this summer and the weir dthing was..out of all the toursits there ni sorrento (this is located in sorrento), the place was almost isolated...thats how hidden it it! If you want the direction i have them written in this yahoo answers, I'll give them to you at the end.
I discovered here in italy, that it IS true, the more south you go the more nicer people get. for example, the first year I was there, my bf and I went to this regular restaurant in sorrento. my bf is florentine. We were sitting there, had already ordered our menu when the waiter, who was a guy, came to us to ask us if we wanted some wine. my bf looked at it and said, 'no no' (quick and fast) in a lets say...'florentine way' which was no different than anyone else from there. but in real life looked kinda in a rude way and i noticed it, he didnt mean to it on purpose but it sounded like it and me being with him for over 3 years at that time, it didnt bother me but the look on the waiter kinda offended him..and then it clicked. My bf's reply was normal and not rude, while to the south that was considered rude. see the difference?
While we were driving around the coast we stopped at one of those little lemon booths. we asked the man, how much is it for one of those lemon cups? he said, '3 euros'. it was this tiny itty bitty little cup for 3 euros!! so we kinda gave a disgusted look, thinking we were obviously getting ripped off by looking like tourist, so we said, 'no thanks!' and turned around. that instant the man ran to us and said, 'ok ok...2 cups of 3uros!' we got the deal, but you can get an idea of how it is.
Same thing happened at pompeii. I had visited pompeii earlier with my school and it had been during a cold february. outside of the pompeii ruins i had bought a huge huge large glass of red orange juice all for 1 euro. I figured it was low season that was the reason of the price. so this august, I was there again going with my parents as they entered teh pompeii ruins. i asked my bf to go see how much the red orange juice was sold for. He came back telling me it was 3 euros, and the glass was small. i told him to get one either way since it was reasonable (the glass wasnt as tiny as the one in the lemon booth) he came back happy carring 3 large glasses, he told me he had mentioned that i had said aobut the 1euro I had paid long time ago during february and the people there for some reason said, 'ok ok, ill give it to you for 1 euro' i turned back and smiled at them...
I thought that was really cool of them, i guess they realized that i wanst lieing and they just happened to be in a good mood.
sorrento is a very elegant town, very clean, as well as the other towns along the amalfi coast. im saying that because naples and pompeii or the towns aroudn that are the opposite, they are extremly dirty towns, very filthy and not as safe as the amalfi coast and you wouldnt guess but its about half an hour distance.
Oh if you care to know, the 'zanzare' (mosquitos) here in amalfi bite less than the big fat ones in florence. (juuuuussst in case you cared to know :) )
Along the amalfi coast you can see a lot of lemon trees being grown. its actually a pretty site since they are located layer by layer only the steep hill/cliff.
Don't ever travel without car along the amalfi coast. when i was there by car with my parents and my bf, all the darn buses that were there carrying tourists got nothing but honks and yells by the people in car. It wasnt a pretty site for the poor tourists inside, I mean they kinda got the idea that they were hogging up the one lane route along the coast and it was impossibile for the bus drivers to stop the buses for them to take fotos. so DONT ever take a bus along the coast, you're gonna get yelled at and no photos allowed.
Ok, thats all i can think of, if you have any questions feel free to ask :)
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