Italy’s Amalfi Coast


HI, I’M RICK STEVES, ENJOYING MORE OF
THE BEST OF EUROPE. AND THIS TIME, WE’RE EXPLORING ITALY’S
DRAMATIC AMALFI COAST AREA, AND SOMEWHERE ALONG HERE, WE’RE GOING TO FIND
A BLUE GROTTO. THANKS FOR JOINING US. JUST SOUTH OF NAPLES ARE SOME OF ITALY’S
MOST APPRECIATED ATTRACTIONS. ALONG A BREATHTAKING COASTLINE,
YOU’LL FIND TRENDY RESORT TOWNS, ANCIENT RUINS, AND ENCHANTING
ISLAND GETAWAYS. LONG THE HAUNT OF CELEBRITIES, THE ALLURE OF SORRENTO
AND THE AMALFI COAST IS STILL A HIT
WITH TRAVELERS TODAY. WE’LL START WITH THE SOUTHERN
ITALIAN CHARMS OF SORRENTO, TASTE TRADITIONAL ITALIAN FOOD WITH A PLAYFUL FLAIR, DRIVE ALONG THE DRAMATIC
AMALFI COAST, ENJOYING ITS CLIFFSIDE TOWNS, AND WE’LL STROLL IN THE SHADOW
OF GREEK TEMPLES AT PAESTUM AND TAKE A CRUISE
TO THE SEDUCTIVE ISLE OF CAPRI, WITH ITS ROMANTIC BLUE GROTTO. IN THE SOUTH OF EUROPE, ITALY JUTS INTO
THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA. THE COAST
STRETCHING SOUTH OF NAPLES IS FILLED WITH TEMPTATIONS. FROM OUR HOME BASE IN SORRENTO,
WE EXPLORE THE AMALFI COAST, STOPPING IN THE TOWNS
OF POSITANO AND AMALFI. AFTER VISITING THE TEMPLES
AT PAESTUM, WE SAIL TO THE ISLE OF CAPRI. WEDGED ON A LEDGE UNDER THE MOUNTAINS
AND OVER THE SEA, SPRITZED BY LEMON
AND ORANGE GROVES, SORRENTO IS
AN ATTRACTIVE RESORT TOWN OF 20,000 RESIDENTS,
AND IN THE SUMMER, AS MANY TOURISTS. SERENE SORRENTO IS WELL LOCATED, BOTH AS A SPRINGBOARD
FOR REGIONAL SIGHTSEEING AND AS A FINE PLACE
TO SIMPLY STAY AND STROLL. WHILE JUST AN HOUR SOUTH
OF WILD AND CRAZY NAPLES, THE SORRENTINES
HAVE GONE OUT OF THEIR WAY TO CREATE A COMPLETELY SAFE
AND GENTEEL PLACE FOR TOURISTS TO COME, RELAX,
AND ENJOY SPENDING THEIR MONEY. WHILE THE TOWN’S HOT AND MOBBED WITH TOURISTS
DURING THE SUMMER, WE’RE HERE IN MID-APRIL. THE WEATHER’S COMFORTABLE, AND MOST OF THOSE ENJOYING
THE FUN IN THE SORRENTO SUN ARE LOCALS. SORRENTO GOES BACK
TO ANCIENT GREEK TIMES. IN FACT, THE WORD “SORRENTO” COMES FROM THE GREEK WORD
FOR “SIREN.” ON HIS LEGENDARYODYSSEY,
ULYSSES SAILED BY AND HE OVERCAME
THE TREACHEROUS LURE OF THE SEDUCTIVE SIRENS. IN DOING SO, HE OPENED UP
THIS REGION TO COLONIZATION. TO THE ANCIENT GREEKS, PLACES LIKE SORRENTO
WERE THE WILD, WILD WEST. THE TOWN’S ORIGINAL
GREEK STREET PLAN SURVIVES RUNNING EAST-WEST
FOR THE MOST SUNLIGHT AND NORTH-SOUTH FOR THE PREVAILING
AND COOLING BREEZE. WHILE THE BREEZE IS WELCOME
IN THE SUMMER, EVEN IN ANCIENT TIMES,
DOCUMENTS REPORT OF LOCALS COMPLAINING
ABOUT THE COLD WINTER WIND. SORRENTO’S BACK STREETS
GIVE A PEEK AT BOTH ITS LONG HISTORY
AND RICH CULTURE. THIS 13th-CENTURY PALACE
RECALLS A ROUGH AND TUMBLE AGE. IT HAD NO BALCONIES
FOR SECURITY REASONS. TINY SHRINES DECORATE WALLS
THROUGHOUT SOUTHERN ITALY. THE CATHOLIC FAITHFUL
PRAY TO MARY IN THE HOPES THAT SHE’LL
ADVOCATE FOR THEM UP IN HEAVEN. ITALIANS VENERATE MARY, AND ITALIAN MEN
ALSO VENERATE THEIR MOTHERS. EVEN SO, ITALIAN MEN HAVE BUILT
INTO THEIR LIVES WOMEN-FREE ZONES. HERE AT THE SORRENTO MEN’S CLUB,
MEN — AND ONLY MEN — PLAY CARDS AND GOSSIP UNDER AN HISTORIC EMBLEM
OF THE CITY AND A FRESCOED
16th-CENTURY DOME. WHILE ORIGINALLY A PLACE
WHERE THE TOWN’S NOBLES MET, TODAY, THIS IS THE CLUB
FOR WORKING-CLASS GUYS. STRICTLY NO WOMEN,
AND NO TELEPHONES EITHER. FROM THE OLD CENTER,
AN ANCIENT LANE ZIGZAGS DOWN TO THE MARINA GRANDE,
SORRENTO’S HISTORIC HARBOR. JUST BEFORE REACHING THE HARBOR, YOU PASS THROUGH
AN ANCIENT GREEK GATE, A REMINDER THAT MARINA GRANDE
WAS ALWAYS A SEPARATE TOWN WITH ITS OWN PROUD RESIDENTS. IT’S SAID EVEN THEIR CATS
LOOK DIFFERENT. SORRENTINES BELIEVE THAT,
BECAUSE THIS SECTION OF TOWN WAS LOCKED OUTSIDE THE FORTIFIED
WALL DURING PIRATE RAIDS, MARINA GRANDE DWELLERS DESCEND FROM SARACEN,
OR TURKISH PIRATE, STOCK. SORRENTINES STILL SCARE
THEIR CHILDREN BY SAYING, “BEHAVE, OR THE TURKS
WILL TAKE YOU AWAY.” TODAY, THERE’S JUST NOT MUCH
VERY MENACING ABOUT THE “TURKS”
OF MARINA GRANDE. [ SPEAKING ITALIAN ] THE PORT’S ECONOMY
IS STILL BASED ON ITS COLORFUL FISHING FLEET, AND MORE RECENTLY,
ITS MANY SEAFOOD RESTAURANTS. THE FAMILY-RUN
RISTORANTE DELFINO GETS ITS SEAFOOD
RIGHT OFF THE FISHERMAN’S BOAT. ENTICING DISHES
ARE SERVED WITH ENTHUSIASM TO HUNGRY LOCALS
RIGHT ON THE PIER.SALUTE.
SALUTE, SIGNORE.
Steves: AROUND HERE, LEMONS ARE EVERYWHERE. EVERY OTHER SHOP
IS LEMON YELLOW. STORES BOTTLE
THEIR OWN CITRUS TREATS, AND THEY’RE GENEROUS WITH SAMPLES. WHEN IT COMES TO FRUIT STANDS
IN SORRENTO, PUCKER UP. ON THE AMALFI COAST, THERE IS ALWAYS
SOMETHING TO LEARN IN THIS LAND WHERE THERE’S MORE
TO LEMONS THAN LEMONADE. IN SORRENTO,
THERE’S LEMONS EVERYWHERE. TELL ME ABOUT YOUR LEMONS. THESE ARE TYPICAL LEMONS
OF SORRENTO, OKAY? THAT’S…
[ Speaking Italian ] IS THE FUR. OH, THAT’S NICE. WITH THIS,
WE MAKE LIMONCELLO. I CAN SMELL
THE LIMONCELLO. YES. OKAY,
WHAT’S THE BIG ONE? THIS BIG ONE IS CEDRO. THIS WE HEAT WITH
EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL AND SALT NEAR THE FISH. SO WITH THE DINNER,
WITH THE FISH? YES. YES. VERY NICE.
THANK YOU.GRAZIE.BYE-BYE.CIAO.CIAO.Steves: SURPRISING VISITORS,
RIGHT IN THE TOWN CENTER, IS AN INVITING LEMON GROVE. AN ABUNDANT ORCHARD PROVIDES
LOCALS AND TOURISTS ALIKE WITH A FRAGRANT
AND PEACEFUL STROLL. AT THE RUSTIC SHOP, CAP YOUR VISIT WITH A TASTE OF
THE REGION’S FAVORITE LIQUEUR, LIMONCELLO. WHILE THERE ARE PLENTY
OF BEACHES NEAR SORRENTO, MANY HOTELS OFFER TRAVELERS
AN ATTRACTIVE ALTERNATIVE. OUR HOTEL MINERVA IS LIKE
A SUN WORSHIPPER’S TEMPLE, WITH A SPECTACULAR TERRACE
COMMANDING MEDITERRANEAN VIEWS, AND A SMALL,
CLIFF-HANGING SWIMMING POOL. THIS PLACE PROVIDES
ALL I LOOK FOR — AN EFFICIENT LOBBY AND INVITING LOUNGE, AND A SIMPLE ROOM
WITH A GOOD BED AND GREAT VIEW. DURING THE PEAK SEASON, MANY RESORT HOTELS
REQUIRE HALF-PENSION. THAT MEANS YOU MUST BUY
EITHER LUNCH OR DINNER THERE. IT’S A REASONABLE POLICY, DESIGNED TO KEEP
THE HOTEL RESTAURANTS BUSY, BUT I PREFER A HOTEL
LIKE THIS ONE, ONE THAT LEAVES MEALS OPTIONAL SO I’M FREE TO GO OUT AND FIND
WHATEVER RESTAURANT I LIKE. AND TONIGHT, THAT RESTAURANT
ISIL BUCO.ONCE THE CELLAR
OF AN OLD MONASTERY, TODAY, IT’S A SMALL,
DRESSY RESTAURANT SERVING DELIGHTFULLY PRESENTED,
TOP-QUALITY FOOD. THEY SHOWCASE GOOD WINE
AND OFFER ELEGANT SERVICE. IN THE STATE-OF-THE-ART KITCHEN, THE CHEFS PRIDE THEMSELVES
ON TAKING A PLAYFUL ATTITUDE TOWARDS TRADITIONAL
ITALIAN DISHES. IN MY GUIDEBOOKS, I STRIVE TO LIST PLACES
WITH HANDS-ON OWNERSHIP.IL BUCO’SOWNER, PEPPE, DESIGNS HIS MENU
AROUND WHATEVER’S FRESH, AND HE LOVINGLY EXPLAINS
EACH COURSE TO HIS GUESTS. Peppe: GENERALLY,
IT’S THE SPAGHETTI VONGOLE, BUT WE WANT TO PLAY
WITH THE TRADITION. WE MAKE A LITTLE DISTRACTION
ON THIS PLATE WITH SOME PASTA
AND CLAMS THE OTHER SIDE. JUST FORGIVE THE IDEA TO USE YOUR FINGER — CLEAN THE CLAMS, PUT THE HAND,
AND PLAY WITH THE SPAGHETTI.BUON APPETITO.I CAN REARRANGE IT
MY WAY? YEAH. [ LAUGHS ] THANK YOU VERY MUCH. Steves: AND DURING A BALMY
SORRENTO EVENING, THE STREETS ARE FILLED WITH PEOPLE ENJOYING
A CONVIVIALPASSEGIATA.FOR MANY,
A STOP AT THE GELATERIA IS A REGULAR PART
OF THE FAMILY NIGHT OUT. GELATERIA DAVIDE IS SURE TO HAVE
THE FLAVOR THAT SUITS YOUR MOOD. PERUSE THE MOUTHWATERING
CHORUS LINE BEFORE ORDERING.GRAZIE. CIAO. CIAO.THIS ISN’T A FESTIVAL,
IT’S JUST ANOTHER NIGHT — A CELEBRATION OF COMMUNITY
IN THE MEDITERRANEAN WORLD. WITH ALL THIS ACTION
IN THE STREETS, WHO WANTS TO GO HOME? SORRENTO IS THE IDEAL HOME BASE FOR EXPLORING
THE STUNNING AMALFI COAST. TOURISTS LINE UP EACH MORNING, PACKING THE BUSES WHICH MAKE
THE MEMORABLE DAY TRIP. BUT THIS IS A CASE
WHEN I HIRE A CABBIE, LIKE RAFFAELE MONETTI,
TO BE MY DRIVER AND GUIDE. TIME FOR A TRIP
ON THE AMALFI? YES. OKAY. Steves: BUT, ESPECIALLY
FOR A SMALL GROUP, WHEN YOU FACTOR IN
THE VALUE OF YOUR TIME AND THE FRUSTRATION
OF TRYING TO EXPLORE A CONGESTED AND EXPENSIVE BIT OF ITALIAN
COASTLINE ON YOUR OWN, A DAY WITH YOUR OWN DRIVER
CAN BE A FINE VALUE. YES. THE AMALFI COAST
IS CHAOTIC, SCENIC, IN-LOVE-WITH-LIFE ITALY
AT ITS BEST. WITH ITS BREATHTAKING SCENERY, DRAMATICALLY PERCHED
PORT TOWNS, AND HISTORIC RUINS, THE AMALFI IS ITALY’S COAST
WITH THE MOST. WHETHER YOU RIDE THE BUS
OR A TAXI, THE TRIP SOUTH FROM SORRENTO IS ONE OF
THE WORLD’S GREAT ROAD TRIPS. YOU’LL GAIN RESPECT FOR THE ITALIAN ENGINEERS
WHO FIRST BUILT THE ROAD, AND EVEN MORE RESPECT FOR
THE BUS DRIVERS WHO DRIVE IT. [ HORN HONKS ] CANTILEVERED HOTELS AND VILLAS CLING TO THE VERTICAL TERRAIN, AND BEAUTIFUL, SANDY COVES
TEASE FROM FAR BELOW. AS YOU HYPERVENTILATE, NOTICE HOW THE MEDITERRANEAN
REALLY TWINKLES. TRAFFIC IS SO HEAVY
THAT PRIVATE TOUR BUSES ARE ONLY ALLOWED
TO GO SOUTHBOUND. EVEN SO, BECAUSE OF THE NARROW
ROADS AND TIGHT CORNERS, EXPECT SOME DELAYS… [ SPEAKING ITALIAN ] AND ENJOY THE SHOW. BEAUTIFUL.
LOOK AT THE ENGINEERING HERE. Monetti: THIS ROAD
IS VERY, VERY OLD. IT IS ABOUT
750 YEARS OLD. 750 YEARS? YES. FOR MAKE THIS ROAD,
IT TAKES ABOUT 150 YEARS FROM SORRENTO
DOWN TO SALERNO. SPECIALIZING IN SCENERY,
SHOPPING, AND SAND, THE RESORT TOWN OF POSITANO HANGS ON THE MOST SPECTACULAR
STRETCH OF THE COAST. ONLY ONE STREET IN POSITANO
ALLOWS MOTORIZED TRAFFIC — THE REST
ARE STEEP PEDESTRIAN LANES. BECAUSE BUS ACCESS IS SO LIMITED AND HOTELS DON’T TAKE
LARGE GROUPS, THE TOWN —
UNLIKE SORRENTO — HAS BEEN SPARED THE IMPACT
OF BIG-BUS TOURISM. THE VILLAGE IS SQUISHED
INTO A RAVINE, WITH NARROW
PEDESTRIAN-ONLY ALLEYS THAT CASCADE DOWN
TO THE HARBOR. THE SKYLINE LOOKS LIKE IT DID
A CENTURY AGO — STRICT BUILDING CODES
PREVENT MODERN STRUCTURES. THE TOWN’S SHALLOW ROOFTOP
DOMES ARE FILLED WITH SAND. THESE PROVIDE INSULATION — COOL IN SUMMER,
WARM IN WINTER. POSITANO’S STEEP LANES
ARE A WAY OF LIFE FOR THE 4,000 HEARTY RESIDENTS. IT’S A PLEASANT GATHERING
OF CAFES, GALLERIES, AND BOUTIQUES. THERE’S LITTLE
TO DO HERE BUT EAT, WINDOW-SHOP, AND ENJOY THE BEACH AND VIEWS — AND THAT’S EXACTLY THE WAY
ITS MANY VISITORS LIKE IT. THE BEACH IS A RELAXED SCENE. BOATS SHUTTLE VISITORS
IN AND OUT, YOUNG ROMEOS
POLISH THEIR CRAFT… AND THE CAFE CROWD
WATCHES IT ALL UNFOLD. THERE’S REALLY NO WAY
TO AVOID THE CLIMBS THAT COME WITH
THIS STAGGERING SCENERY. TO SAVE A FEW STEPS, I ENJOY THE EFFICIENCY OF HAVING
A CELL PHONE ON THE ROAD. YOU CAN BUY A CHEAP ONE HERE OR BRING ONE THAT
WORKS IN EUROPE FROM HOME. I’M READY TO HEAD ON,
AND RAFFAELE SAID TO JUST GIVE HIM A CALL
TO BE PICKED UP. MANY OF THE BEST
AMALFI COAST VIEWS ARE JUST SOUTH OF POSITANO. YOU’LL SEE SEVERAL
MEDIEVAL WATCH TOWERS BUILT TO WARN OF TURKISH
OR SARACEN PIRATE ATTACKS. THE TOWERS,
THEY ARE VERY OLD, FROM THE SARACENS’ TIME. THE SARACEN PIRATES? YES. SO THERE’S 30 OF THESE
ALONG THE COAST. YES. WHY SO MANY? BECAUSE THEY NEEDED
THE TOWERS JUST TO TELL
TO THE PEOPLE THAT THE SARACENS
WAS ON THE WAY IN. SO IT WAS A WARNING
ABOUT THE ATTACKS? YES, JUST A WARNING. AND THEY WARNED WITH A FIRE
ON THE TOP OF THE TOWER. SO EVERY TOWER
HAS A LITTLE BIT FIRE. OH, SO, LIKE, VERY FAST, YOU COULD SPREAD THE WORD
THAT THE SARACENS ARE COMING. YES, AND ALL THE PEOPLE,
THEY JUST GO FROM THE BEACH UP. RUN AWAY FROM THE PIRATES. RUN AWAY, YES. THE AMALFI COAST
IS NAMED FOR THIS TOWN. AFTER ROME FELL, AMALFI EMERGED
AS AN INDEPENDENT REPUBLIC. INNOCUOUS AS IT LOOKS TODAY, IN ITS 10th-CENTURY HEYDAY, AMALFI WAS A MARITIME POWER. WITH A TRADING FLEET
THAT CONTROLLED THE REGION, IT COMPETED
WITH GENOA AND VENICE. THE REPUBLIC OF AMALFI
MINTED ITS OWN COINS. IT EVEN ESTABLISHED
THE RULES OF THE SEA, THE BASICS OF WHICH
SURVIVE TODAY. BUT IN 1343, THIS LITTLE POWERHOUSE
WAS DEVASTATED BY A TSUNAMI. THIS DISASTER,
COMPOUNDED BY A DEADLY PLAGUE, LEFT AMALFI A HUMBLE BACKWATER. TODAY, THE SHIPYARDS, WHERE ITS POWERFUL GALLEYS
WERE BUILT A THOUSAND YEARS AGO, HOUSE TOURIST SHOPS AND THE FORMER GLORY
OF AMALFI’S PINT-SIZE EMPIRE IS REMEMBERED ON THIS TILED MAP. BUT TOURISTS SEEM OBLIVIOUS
TO THE TOWN’S ILLUSTRIOUS PAST. THEY’RE HERE TO ENJOY THE GOOD
LIFE UNDER THE AMALFI SUN. TODAY, THE TOWN
LIVES OFF TOURISM, AND BOASTS A CATHEDRAL GRANDER THAN A TOWN OF 7,000
WOULD MERIT. THE CHURCH’S IMPOSING STAIRWAY PROVIDES AN IDEAL HANGOUT
FOR LOCALS. ITS FANCIFUL FACADE
IS NEO-BYZANTINE, DATING ONLY FROM
THE 19th CENTURY. BUT THIS BRONZE DOOR
IS A THOUSAND YEARS OLD, GIVEN TO AMALFI
BY A WEALTHY LOCAL MERCHANT WHO HAD IT MADE
IN CONSTANTINOPLE. THE CATHEDRAL
IS RICHLY DECORATED. BEHIND ITS FINE
13th-CENTURY WOODEN CRUCIFIX, A PAINTING SHOWS ST. ANDREW MARTYRED ON AN X-SHAPED CROSS. AND ST. ANDREW HIMSELF
IS BURIED HERE. HOLY RELICS WERE SOURCES
OF POWER IN THE MIDDLE AGES. LIKE VENICE NEEDED
THE BONES OF ST. MARK TO GET ON THE PILGRIMAGE MAP, AMALFI GOT ST. ANDREW — ONE OF THE APOSTLES
WHO LEFT HIS NETS TO JOIN THE ORIGINAL
FISHERS OF MEN. ST. ANDREW’S REMAINS
WERE BROUGHT HERE FROM CONSTANTINOPLE
IN 1206 DURING THE CRUSADES. THAT’S AN INDICATION OF THE WEALTH AND THE IMPORTANCE
OF AMALFI BACK THEN. SAINT ANDREW IS NEAR AND DEAR
TO THE PEOPLE OF AMALFI BECAUSE HE’S CREDITED
WITH SAVING THE TOWN FROM CERTAIN
PILLAGE AND PLUNDER BACK IN THE 1500s
DURING A PIRATE RAID. JUST WHEN A HORRIBLE ATTACK
SEEMED INEVITABLE, A FREAK STORM HIT AND THE PIRATE SHIP
WAS DESTROYED. THIS PLANK IS ALL THAT REMAINS
OF THAT SHIP. THIS AND OTHER TREASURES
OF THE CATHEDRAL ARE WELL DISPLAYED
IN THE ADJACENT MUSEUM. THE ANGEVIN MITRE, WITH A PAVEMENT OF TINY PEARLS
SETTING OFF ITS GOLD AND GEMS, HAS BEEN WORN BY BISHOPS
SINCE THE 14th CENTURY. THE CLOISTER OF PARADISE
IS A PEACEFUL AS WELL AS EVOCATIVE PLACE
FOR A SHADY REST. ITS GRACEFUL COLUMNS
PROTECT STONE SARCOPHAGI, AS THIS WAS THE CEMETERY
OF AMALFI’S NOBLES. THE BELL TOWER,
WITH ITS MAJOLICA TILES — A REGIONAL SPECIALTY — STANDS HIGH
ABOVE THE CATHEDRAL. JUST SOUTH OF THE AMALFI COAST
STANDS A DRAMATIC REMINDER OF THE RICH HISTORY
OF THIS PART OF ITALY. WHILE MANY TRAVEL
ALL THE WAY TO GREECE TO SEE GREEK RUINS, JUST SOUTH OF HERE, YOU CAN SEE
SOME MARVELOUS GREEK TEMPLES. REMEMBER,
500 YEARS BEFORE CHRIST, SOUTHERN ITALY WAS CALLEDMAGNA GRECIA,
“GREATER GREECE.” AND THE WONDERS OF THAT
WESTERN FRONTIER OF GREECE CAN BE WELL APPRECIATED
AT PAESTUM. THE TOWN WAS FOUNDED BY GREEKS
IN THE 6th CENTURY B.C. THE ROMANS CONQUERED IT IN
THE 3rd CENTURY B.C. BUT THE FINAL CONQUERORS
OF PAESTUM, MALARIA-CARRYING MOSQUITOES, KEPT THE SITE
WONDERFULLY DESERTED FOR NEARLY A THOUSAND YEARS. THE STRIKING SETTING INCLUDES THE REMAINS
OF THREE IMPRESSIVE TEMPLES — THE LONELY TEMPLE OF CERES. THE ALMOST DELICATE
TEMPLE OF HERA WAS DEDICATED TO THE GREEK GODDESS
OF MARRIAGE IN 550 B.C. AND THE HIGHLIGHT,
THE TEMPLE OF NEPTUNE, IS SIMPLY BREATHTAKING. CONSTRUCTED IN 450 B.C., IT’S A TEXTBOOK EXAMPLE
OF THE DORIC STYLE. AS WELL PRESERVED AND BEAUTIFUL
AS THE PARTHENON IN ATHENS, THIS HUGE STRUCTURE IS A TRIBUTE TO GREEK ENGINEERING
AND AESTHETICS. FOR A GREAT DAY-TRIP FROM NAPLES, POSITANO,
OR SORRENTO, CATCH THE EARLY MORNING
JET BOAT TO THE ISLE OF CAPRI. THE ISLE OF CAPRI
WAS FIRST MADE FAMOUS AS THE VACATION HIDEAWAY
OF ROMAN EMPERORS. IN THE 19th CENTURY, IT WAS THE HAUNT
OF ROMANTIC-AGE ARISTOCRATS ON THEIR GRAND TOUR OF EUROPE. WHILE THE ISLAND IS SMALL —
JUST FOUR MILES BY TWO MILES — THERE’S PLENTY TO SEE AND DO. TO GET THE MOST
OUT OF OUR QUICK VISIT, I’M MEETING MY FRIEND
AND FELLOW TOUR GUIDE ROBERTA MAZZARELLA. OUR FIRST STOP IS THE REASON
MOST COME TO CAPRI — TO ENTER
THE FABLED BLUE GROTTO. THE BLUE GROTTO EXPERIENCE IS
MORE THAN JUST VISITING A CAVE. GETTING THERE, GETTING IN,
AND GETTING BACK IS A SCENIC HOOT. YOU ENJOY A FAST CRUISE PARTWAY AROUND
THE GORGEOUS ISLAND, SEEING BIRD LIFE
AND LOCAL FISHERMEN AT WORK, ALL UNDER DRAMATIC
LIMESTONE CLIFFS. SO MOST OF THE ISLE OF CAPRI
IS JUST LIKE THIS. LIMESTONE CLIFFS STRAIGHT DOWN INTO
THE BEAUTIFUL BLUE WATER. LOOK AT THIS CLIFF. FROM THE WATER
ALL THE WAY UP TO THE TOP, ROMAN EMPERORS LOVED THIS BECAUSE IT WAS EASY
TO DEFEND. Steves: ARRIVING AT THE MOUTH
OF THE GROTTO, YOU FIND A BUSY
DISTRIBUTION CENTER. AS THE TOURIST-LADEN
BOATS ARRIVE, AWAITING DINGHIES CONVERGE, AND VISITORS CLAMBER GINGERLY
INTO THEIR LITTLE BOATS. THE ENTRY HOLE IS SMALL. IF THE WATER’S TOO ROUGH,
IT BECOMES TOO DANGEROUS — DINGHIES CAN’T GET IN,
AND VISITORS ARE TURNED BACK. WE’RE LUCKY TODAY. THERE’S A LITTLE CHOP,
BUT DINGHIES ARE SQUEEZING IN. THE RAFFISH ROWERS JOSTLE
THEIR WAY TO THE TINY HOLE. TOURISTS SCRUNCH DOWN SAFELY
BELOW THE GUNWALES. AND THE GUIDES PULL
FAST AND HARD ON THE CABLE AT THE LOW POINT
OF THE SWELLS TO SQUEEZE YOU
INTO THE GROTTO. INSIDE THE 60-YARD-LONG CAVE, THE SUN REFLECTS
OFF THE LIMESTONE BOTTOM, GIVING THE GROTTO
ITS FAMOUS BRILLIANT BLUE. [ MAN SINGING “O SOLE MIO” ] YOUR MAN ROWS YOU AROUND, SINGS A LITTLE “O SOLE MIO,” AND LETS YOU ENJOY THE IRIDESCENT MAGIC
OF THE MOMENT. CAPRI, THE LARGEST
OF THE ISLAND’S TWO TOWNS, SITS IN A SADDLE ABOVE THE PORT. PIAZZA UMBERTO
IS THE MAIN SQUARE OF THIS CUTE AND TOURISTY
SHOPPING TOWN. THE MAIN DRAG IS NICKNAMED
“RODEO DRIVE” FOR ITS EXCLUSIVE BOUTIQUES. WHILE PRICES ARE STEEP, THE WINDOW SHOPPING IS FREE. THESE DAYS,
ESPECIALLY IN THE SUMMER, CAPRI CAN BE
A WORLD-CLASS TOURIST TRAP, PACKED WITH GAWKY VISITORS SEARCHING FOR
THE RICH AND FAMOUS, AND FINDING ONLY THEIR PRICES. BUT OTHER TIMES OF YEAR —
WE’RE HERE IN APRIL — IT PROVIDES A RELAXING
AND SCENIC BREAK. AT THE EDGE OF TOWN, ELEGANT VILLAS
AND A PUBLIC GARDEN ARE STRATEGICALLY PLACED
TO ENJOY FINE VIEWS. ON GLITZY CAPRI,
EVERYTHING IS DONE WITH PANACHE. TAXIS ARE WHITE CONVERTIBLES. THOUGH EXPENSIVE,
THEY MAKE GETTING AROUND AN UNFORGETTABLE PART
OF YOUR VISIT. THE ISLAND’S SECOND TOWN,
ANACAPRI, HAS FEWER TOURISTS,
A LITTLE MORE CHARACTER, AND A PASSION FOR
COLORFUL MAJOLICA TILES. THESE ARE
MAJOLICA TILES. WE CAN SEE THEM
EVERYWHERE — IN NAPOLI, ON THE AMALFI COAST,
AND HERE ON CAPRI — ON THE DOMES OF THE CHURCHES,
ON THE FLOORS, ON DECORATING
PEOPLE’S HOMES. Steves:
AND SQUARES LIKE THIS. AND SQUARES LIKE THIS ONE.
JUST GLAZED TILES. WHAT’S MAKE
THEM SPECIAL — THE COLORS,
WE LOVE COLORS HERE. Steves: THE TOWN’S CELEBRATED
SAN MICHELE CHURCH HAS A REMARKABLE MAJOLICA FLOOR
SHOWING PARADISE ON EARTH IN A CLASSIC 18th-CENTURY
NEAPOLITAN STYLE. IRONICALLY, THE CHURCH’S FLOOR
IS SO GORGEOUS THAT PEWS FOR WORSHIPPERS ARE REPLACED BY
A BOARDWALK FOR TOURISTS. THE ENTIRE FLOOR
IS ORNATELY TILED, FEATURING A SWORD-WIELDING ANGEL DRIVING ADAM AND EVE
FROM PARADISE. THE DEVIL IS WRAPPED AROUND
THE TRUNK OF A TREE LADEN WITH
TROUBLE-CAUSING APPLES. THE ANIMALS, WITH CURIOUSLY
HUMAN EXPRESSIONS, SEEM BLISSFULLY IGNORANT
OF THIS MOMENTOUS EVENT. FOR EXPANSIVE ISLAND VIEWS,
RIDE THE CHAIRLIFT TO THE TOP OF MONTE SOLARO,
CAPRI’S 1,900 FOOT SUMMIT. YOU’LL FLOAT OVER LUSH ORCHARDS
AND WELL-TENDED GARDENS. AT THE SUMMIT, YOU’LL ENJOY
THE COMMANDING PANORAMA OF BOTH THE ITALIAN MAINLAND
IN THE DISTANCE AND THE ISLE OF CAPRI. CLIFFS ARE BUSY WITH BIRDS, ENJOYING A LITTLE R&R BREAK
DURING THEIR MIGRATION, TENDING SCENIC NESTS, AND SOARING
ON A STEADY SEA BREEZE. THE FARAGLIONI ROCKS
ARE AN ICON OF THE ISLAND, WITH TOUR BOATS SQUEEZING
THROUGH EVERY FEW MINUTES. AND FROM HERE,
THE HIKE DOWN IS A DELIGHT. IT’S CLEAR TO ME
WHY ROMAN EMPERORS CHOSE THIS ISLAND
AS THEIR HOLIDAY ESCAPE, AND WHY TODAY,
SO MANY TRAVELERS INCLUDE THE AMALFI COAST
IN THEIR ITALIAN TRAVEL PLANS. THANKS FOR JOINING US.
I’M RICK STEVES. UNTIL NEXT TIME,
KEEP ON TRAVELING.CIAO.

100 thoughts on “Italy’s Amalfi Coast

  1. thank you dear man that you leave your videos on youtube open to learn something. and you are not as stingy as rick stein. he is almost dead. but unfortunately he has removed all his european instructive fullepisodes.what a shammmmmm .RICK

  2. I am living in the USA for 28 years already and I NEVER GET USED TO THIS SOCIETY ,,and I can wait some day go back to my country ITALIA , people are more friendly that USA , and I am don't have to hear some time people to said WHAT YOU LOOKING AT( rude society and violent ) ?? when I watch people in the face when I am walking in the street of USA..Peoplein EUROPE look at people in their face when they walk and when their are seating down at the restaurant chair outside the restaurant ,,that is call PEOPLE WATCHING…

  3. Beautiful capri but no one wearing life jacket 🧥😉 , no seat belt when driving. This relaxing tradition around the world except US ,Australia Britain,Canada. It’s good that’s way everyone love to go there. But I still enjoy those part of world.

  4. "Hyperventilate" is the word! I always stop by my friends, "the three musketeers" (3 ladies whose shop is downtown Sorrento, La Botteguccia) off the main road towards the cathedral on the left hand side. They speak English and frequently do business with American expats. I miss Italy!

  5. Why this american obsession about Italy? Why this will to judge our lifestyle? I dont understand this american people . I dont understand Mr Steves ! I m not i interested about Idaho or Montana , but You are interested to Abruzzo or Puglia . Our culture is the opposite of american way of life : so why this obsession?

  6. Rick is fantastic – -every time fancy hotels, restaurants, taxis! One gets to feel the flavour of genuine local life…

  7. Great video series. How could anyone not want to go to Europe after watching one of Rick's mini documentaries?

  8. Ah man, he went to Capri and didn’t even show us Emperor Tiberius’ palace. 🙁

  9. So proud of my Italian and Sicilian roots – gorgeous! And the food – OMG!

  10. That cannot be a Greek gate! The Greeks did not know the arch, which was invented by the Romans.

  11. Hey Rick. Take your hand out of your pocket and keep both hands visible when seated at a table. Troppo Americano!

  12. Rick how can I contact Raphael? I'll be in Italy in Sept for 2 wks

  13. Don't go in April, May June July August September or October or you won't be able to move.

  14. I read today it's now forbidden, against the law, fineable, to wear flip-flops on the coast. Next they'll be banning tourist baseball caps and wearing your camera around your neck. Plus, no t-shirts from any tourist location outside Italy.

  15. Once Italians come to Italy, they become just as callous to their families and parents as the rest of the ugly Americans. "Parents? What parents? Call me when the will is probated"— right kids???

  16. Amalfi must be beautiful. When I was young we would import a brand of shoes named Amalfis. They were the softest leather shoes with beautiful style. Way back when… don't put off for tomorrow what you can do today.

  17. I personally not big fan of grey sand on riviera…..Makes me feel miserable

  18. ฉันอยากไปเที่ยวจัง สักวันหนึ่งฉันหวัง😍

  19. I totally agree. It is very rude to answer the phone while someone is speaking to you,

  20. We own a mansion on the coast and we go out on the yacht in the Summers. I am so lucky that I was born into a multi millionaire family!! Thanks Mom and Dad for all your hard work!!

  21. 11:15 saw this shop on another show, where the owner explained how the large lemons are not lemons actually, and showed off some tomatoes that taste like Italy.

  22. Potentially heading to the Amalfi coast in July. Any one know the dollar value cost of a taxi guide?

  23. America: "we make the best pizza and pasta!"

    Italy: Hold my parmesan cheese.

  24. Amalfi coastline is probably most scenic route in Italy. I loved Sorrento, we passed through Positano, Amalfi and onto Salerno. This is a must-do and admire this scenic route

  25. Love how people socialise in Italy. Everything is an excuse to meet and enjoy each other and life 🥰. What a beautiful country ❤️

  26. Italy 🇮🇹 best food 🥘,wine, and fashion ,paradise for all times ❤️ excellent video,gracias god bless and peace ,sir Steves you’re voice makes my day fantastic

  27. My hero! You rock Steve! Your books helped me all throughout the Mediterranean, including the Amalfi Coast! And all over Europe in fact! Thanks for your wonderful perspective!

  28. One of the most beautiful places in the world! I've been to Sorrento twice and the Amalfi Coast once so far, but plan to go back.

  29. Back to old days, no cell phone at all, interestingly you need to catch the moment and cherish them.

  30. That would be so cool to run into Rick Steves on one of my travels. I'd tell him, because of you I am here!👍😆✌

  31. i like this place so so muc,i love this video,100 time i watch the video,one a time i spend 20 days here in a life,can anybody tell me that wat is name of state where amalfi coast situate,because my some frien live in italy,a friend in rome i ask ru near the amalfi coast,he said i never heard this place`

  32. It's beautiful just don't go in August it's too crowded. The views are memorable and spectacular though.

  33. Rick try to go travel in Albania to see what beauty is there in Albania in north mountain and south beaches, after u can tell me if i am lie.

  34. it says a lot about Italian culture then, "women are not allowed" !!! So they honour their mothers but not their wifes, daughters?????

  35. the way he talks, reminds me of Colin Mochrie from "Whose Line Is It Anyway?". :))

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