BAY OF NAPLES & AMALFI COAST Introduction
has been said that in ancient Roman times, the Bay of Naples (Herculaneum, Pompeii, Sorrento, Capri) and the Amalfi Coast
Amalfi, Ravello) in Campania were the richest and most beautiful
provinces in southern Italy.
It has now been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site
and was chosen by the National Geographic Magazine as one
of "The 50 places you must visit in your lifetime".
The Bay of Naples in Campania is one of the most beautiful
and enchanting bays in Italy and is dominated by Mount Vesuvius.
Naples was favoured by the Romans because of its Greek culture,
its fantastic natural setting and its baths. Nowadays, it
is a diverse city, full of culture and tradition, all the
foreign rulers having left their marks on its art, architecture,
monuments, local dialect and food.
To the west of Naples lies Campi Flegrei which boasts the
oldest Greek remains in Italy as well as active volcanic scenery.
Nearby are the magical islands of Capri, Ischia and Procida
and just inland are the ancient Roman towns of Pompeii and
Herculaneum. The Bay of Naples is closed off from the south
by the Sorrento Peninsula, which on the other side lies the
infamous Amalfi Coast. The Li Galli islands off the coast
was the traditional home of the Sirens of Homer's Odyssey.
Further down the coast is Paestum, which has some of the best
preserved Greek temples in the world.
The Amalfi Coast (la Costiera Amalfitana) stretches for about
40km between Positano and Vietri sul Mare, just south of the
Bay of Naples in Campania. It is justifiably regarded as one
of the most stunningly beautiful coastlines in the world.
The sun-drenched hillsides, dotted with white or pastel coloured
houses and their colourful, flower-filled gardens bedecked
with bougainvillea and cultivation terraces, bear testament
to man's influence on this until recent times, inaccessible
landscape, that could only be reached by ship in ancient times.
All generations of visitors have been enticed to the Bay
of Naples and the Amalfi Coast by the same intoxicating mixture
of ancient history, breathtaking scenery, fabulous food and
sunshine, and the friendly hospitality of its people. They
are as attracted by its bustling seaside resorts, as by its
picturesque medieval villages, where life goes on much as
it has for centuries, and where the gentle pace of life provides
such a contrast to our hectic lives.