The scent of lemons, wild basil and fennel, panoramic with sugar cube pink and white and ochre villas tumbling down impossibly steep terraces towards a cobalt sea - the Amalfi Coast is almost impossibly romantic and chic.

Filled with gorgeous palace hotels and bijou boutique hotels, delightful restaurants just like Mama used to run and beautiful people in big sunglasses and little black dresses, there's not a huge amount of sightseeing on the coast itself other than admiring the extraordinary views from every angle.

Amalfi and Ravello deserve plenty of time while most people will also explore the old paper mills at the Valle dei Mulini, take the boat trip to the emerald green waters of the Grotto del Smeraldo and do daytrips further afield.

Positano is filled with excellent hotels and shops, including a good array of home-grown fashion designers.

Where is it?
In the province of Salerno, on the south coast of the Sorrento Peninsula, in south-western Italy. Amalfi, at the eastern end of the coast, is 79 km (44 miles) from Naples.

What is it?
One of the world's most beautiful and hair-raising coast roads, 36km (22 miles) long between Positano in the west and Vietri sul Mare in the east, through fifteen historic communes, including Amalfi and Ravello. It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.

Best time to visit?
Late spring and autumn, when the area is at its finest. High summer can be very hot and overcrowded. In winter, it can be very overcast and most hotels, restaurants and sights close.

Must see?
The views are magnificent, but allow time to explore the towns, particularly Amalfi with its magnificent cathedral and Ravello, with its superb gardens. If staying on the coast, daytrip to Naples, Vesuvius, Pompeii, Herculaneum and Paestum.

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The Amalfi Coast, Italy