The "Amalfi Drive" is said to be one of the most spectacular roads in Europe and from Sorrento the winding cliff top road offers breathtaking panoramic views from every bend. Amalfi, now a thriving holiday resort, was once a powerful and prosperous marine republic, and homeland of Flavio Gioia, the inventor of the compass. The beautiful cathedral, stands at the top of steps leading up from the main square, and houses the remains of the patron saint of Amalfi, Saint Andrew.
Places to visit at few km from Positano in the surrounding area
Ravello was an important town of the Maritime Republic of Amalfi, an important trading power in the Mediterranean between 839 and around 1200. Villa Rufolo (1270), built by Nicola Rufolo, one of the richest men of Ravello, on a ledge and it has become a famous attraction for thousands of visitors. The villa was mentioned by Giovanni Boccaccio in his Decameron and it is the place where Richard Wagner in 1880 was inspired for the stage design of his opera Parsifal.
No visit to Capri is complete without at least a few hours spent on the Mediterranean sea surrounding the island. Whether you choose to join an organised tour, or rent a private boat with captain, taking to the turquoise waters is the only way to explore some of the most beautiful parts of the island. In fact, many of the most enchanting stretches of the Capri coastline are completely inaccessible by land. By boat visitors are able to reach those secluded bays which are just perfect for swimming or sun bathing - far from the crowds crammed onto the tiny pebble beaches. A leisurely tour around the island will last roughly two and a half hours, including time for a quick dip in the sea. For those with more time at their disposal, full day excursions can easily be arranged.
Sorrento is situated in the north of the Sorrentina peninsula. It is undoubtedly one of the most well-known destinations for foreign tourists. The special charm that distinguishes it from any other town is represented above all by its particular morphology. Sorrento stands on high cliffs of tuff, which were formed from water erosion, giving them their present aspect.
Caserta is known as the "Versailles of Naples" after the Royal Palace built here by the Bourbon King, Charles III, in the 18th century. The enchanting palace overlooking the huge square is one of the most sumptuous buildings of its kind in Italy. It has over 1,200 rooms and is full of paintings and rich decorations. The magnificent gardens are 3 km long and their crowning glory is a 75 metre high waterfall, which can be clearly seen from the palace.
Pompeii is a ruined and partially buried Roman town-city near modern Naples and Caserta in the Italian region of Campania, in the territory of the comune of Pompei. Along with Herculaneum, its sister city, Pompeii was destroyed, and completely buried, during a long catastrophic eruption of the volcano Mount Vesuvius spanning two days in AD 79. The volcano collapsed higher roof-lines and buried Pompeii under many meters of ash and pumice, and it was lost for nearly 1700 years before its accidental rediscovery in 1748. Since then, its excavation has provided an extraordinarily detailed insight into the life of a city at the height of the Roman Empire. Today, it is both one of the most popular tourist attractions of Italy, with 2,571,725 visitors in 2007, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Paestum is noted for its splendidly preserved Greek temples. The ancient Greek part of Paestum consists of two sacred areas containing three Doric temples in a remarkable state of preservation. During the ensuing Roman period a typical forum and town layout grew up between the two ancient Greek sanctuaries. Of the three temples, the Temple of Athena (the so-called Temple of Ceres) and the Temple of Hera I (the so-called Basilica) date from the 6th century bc, while the Temple of Hera II (the so-called Temple of Neptune) was probably built about 460 bc and is the best preserved of the three. The Temple of Peace in the forum is a Corinthian-Doric building begun perhaps in the 2nd century bc. Traces of a Roman amphitheatre and other buildings, as well as intersecting main streets, have also been found. The circuit of the town walls, which are built of travertine blocks and are 15–20 feet (5–6 m) thick, is about 3 miles (5 km) in circumference. In July 1969 a farmer uncovered an ancient Lucanian tomb that contained Greek frescoes painted in the early classical style. Paestum's archaeological museum contains these and other treasures from the site
Mt Vesuvius is the only active volcano in Continental Europe, the most populated and it is also the most extensively studued volcano on the Earth. The current shape of the volcano is the result of the continual alternation between "explosive" type eruption, which have produced pyroclastic deposits.
Cami Flegrei, or "The Burning Fields" is a volcanic area whose fascination attracted the Greeks and that's where they founded the oldest colony of Magna Grecia: Cuma. The caldera, which now is essentially at ground level, is accessible on foot. It contains a large number of fumaroles, from which steam can be seen issuing, and over 150 pools of boiling mud at last count. Several subsidiary cones and tuff craters lie within the caldera. One of these craters is filled by Lake Avernus. In 1538, an eight-day eruption in the area deposited enough material to create a new hill, Monte Nuovo.
The city of Naples was probably founded by the Greeks around the eighth century BC, just kilometres from the older town of Partenope; this 'new town' or 'Neapolis' has been absorbing the influences of its settlers and invaders ever since. Romulus Augustulus, last emperor of the Roman Empire, was imprisoned here after being overthrown in 476. In the sixth century, Naples was conquered by the Byzantines, and it was one of the last duchies to fall to the all-conquering Normans in 1039, as they founded the Kingdom of Sicily. In 1266 Naples and the kingdom of Sicily were given by Pope Clement IV to Charles of Anjou, who moved the capital from Palermo to Naples. In 1284 the kingdom was split in two, and stayed that way till 1816, when they would form the kingdom of Two Sicilies.