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Trip description for Amalfi with Salerno as home base

I was asked to describe our trip to the Amalfi Coast. I wasn't successful in a private message. (I lost it after a lengthy composition!!) I thought this might be the best way to share all the information.

We stayed in Salerno as home base and loved every minute there. Salerno Centro B and B was our choice after reading that it was the #1 B and B in Salerno for 2015. It is small with only 3 rooms available, so I reserved the Positano room with private bath and private terrace almost a year ahead of time. The home has been the family home of the hostess, and it has real charm to it. The location is close to old town, the Lungamare (seaside promanade) and the main pedestrian thoroughfare where shops and cafes are in abundance.

Salerno is very much an Italian town geared for Italians and not as much for tourists. The taxi driver from the train station spoke no English, nor did our hostess at the B and B! I had prepared for that by having made out a card with the name of the B and B on it to hand to the taxi driver. At the B and B, there was a young woman on staff who translated to our hostess. Now I understand that her son handles this.

Another very Italian aspect to Salerno is the passeggiata, the stroll that occurs every day from 5pm to 8 pm. Young and old alike dress to the nines and head out arm in arm to window shop and socialize. To join in is to experience a taste of Italian culture.

Something we weren't expecting was the afternoon closing of shops and restaurants from 3pm to 5pm, and then all day on Sunday!

Nevertheless, Salerno is a transportation hub with trains, buses and ferries running up and down the coast. We preferred to take the ferries after reading how crowded the SITA buses could get. We ferried to Amalfi early one morning. Views from the water were spectacular. Since this was May, Amalfi was all in bloom. We didn't linger in Amalfi since our destination that day was Ravello, high above Amalfi. We had purchased the Capania Arte card that gave us a free bus ticket from the bus station to Ravello. We made sure we weren't getting on a SITA bus going up the coast by asking the driver if it was the bus to Ravello. After an amazing ride up, we disembarked to the most lovely sight--- the Mediterranean glistening in the sun along the coast.

Some days on a trip are just picture perfect if you're lucky. This was ours. That early the crowds had not descended on Ravello, so it was quiet and peaceful. With our Arte card we had a free tour of Villa Rufalo with its landscaped gardens on the hillside. Then we strolled into the main Piazza were shops and cafes were waiting for us. We chose a cafe with views of the terraced hillsides and toasted our perfect day with antipasto and wine. I bought some small pottery as a souvenir as we just meandered around this lovely village before leaving once it got crowded.

The ferries at that time docked only at Amalfi and Positano from Salerno. Mines had been discovered in the waters near Sorrento, so we were unable to go there by water. We were determined to eat at Delfinos in Sorrento after reading about this seaside restaurant in Ricks guidebook. To get to Sorrento we had to take a train to Naples and then the Circumvesuviana local train to Sorrento. It was quite an experience on the Circumvesuviana! There was no conductor to take tickets or control the beggars on board. A couple young guys hopped on at one stop (there were many stops) created a ruckus and then hopped off at the next stop!

Sorrento was lovely, but certainly more commercial than Salerno. We took a bus to Marina Grande and found Delfinos. We were treated like royalty. Waiters bent over backwards to make sure we were served only the finest seafood meal. We even met the owner's brother who visited our table. By showing our Rick Steves guidebook, we were treated with a limoncello.

Posted by
4501 posts

Barb,
Thanks so much for taking the time to write a trip report, especially for me!😊
I truly appreciate it!

I sent you a PM

Thanks again!

Posted by
3930 posts

Thanks for posting this, Barb. Next time we're in the area, perhaps we'll try Salerno as a base.

Should you return, please don't fear the SITA buses. We took them all over the area, and never had a bad experience.

Posted by
3317 posts

Thank you SO much for posting this, Barb! I’m taking my adult daughter to Italy this year, and we will be staying two nights in Salerno and three nights in Amalfi during our trip. We’re coming from Lucca by train, so Salerno is only one day, and we’re planning to go see Paestum that day.

Do you feel that the tourist card was a good deal, i.e. would you purchase it again if you were only able to use it for Salerno, Paestum, Amalfi & Ravello?

Posted by
4501 posts

Hello Fellow Travelers,

I thought it would be a good idea to include the rest of Barb's trip report (sent to me via PM) here for everyone to enjoy.
So... I asked for Barb's permission, and she agreed!

Here it is!

What I did was write a Trip Report and posted it for you. I ran out of
space, so you left me in Sorrento after a late lunch at Delfinos. I'll
pick up from there----

We decided it to take the local train back, so we took the SITA bus to
Positano. That late in the day it wasn't crowded! The trip wasn't as
scenic, but once we got to Positano, it was beautiful. Wisteria
everywhere. We were high up and had to make our way down (steep
walkways!!!) to the ferry to return to Salerno. The view of Positano
from the water is breathtaking!!!

In my other reply that I lost, I explained that we spent one day going
to Naples to purchase the Campania Artecard (3 day) at the train
station there and then go to the Archaeological museum, getting in
free with the Artecard. Then the next day we took the train to
Pompeii.

We did not go to Paestum, but wish we had. My brother and his wife
went and enjoyed it immensely. I had notes about it from the
walkofitaly website that listed 14 daily trips on a regional train
from Salerno to Paestum.

Also on that website it listed the must see sights on the Amalfi:
Villa Cimbrone in Ravello, the Duomo in Amalfi, and Castello di Arechi
in Salerno. Soooo, our last day in Salerno we opted for the latter.
Really hard to get to on a bus since they don't frequent this castle
that often. We waited a LONG time to get a bus both ways, and we
didn't think it was worth It!

I think I've tried to cover it all. Oh, the website for Salerno B and
B is www.salernocentro.it They may not have rooms available, but it is
worth a try. Sooo charming. Sooo Italian. Make sure that you
understand that the ferries do not dock at the small towns you want to
visit, but going south to north on the buses may not be as crowded.

The B and B is a walk to and from the bus and train station. You might
consider something closer, but do try to get to the old part of
Salerno, particularly in the evening.

Have a wonderful time! I hope I've helped.

Barb

Thanks again Barb!

Posted by
170 posts

Barb, thx for sharing with this TR. I smiled while reading that description of your perfect day in Ravello. Travel gives its peak experiences out parsimoniously, yeah? So it is nice to experience those extra-special days when they occur. We are AC-bound this April/May after a 30 yr absence. We'll be staying in Salerno, among other locales, so reading your impressions of it was important to us. Where to next?
cheers
I am done. The end.

Posted by
1868 posts

Barb,
Thanks for sharing your excellent trip report. We took a tour of the Amalfi coast in 2014. We missed Salerno. It sounds like a great base. Nothing better than the Amalfi Coast! Glad you had wonderful trip. How nice to be treated with a Limoncello!