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.