Car rental is a sensible option for travelling from Naples to the Amalfi Coast and exploring the coastline's winding roads. Hertz has a branch at the airport, (www.hertz.com). Praiano is a two-hour drive away.
British Airways, BMI, EasyJet and Alitalia all fly into Naples airport.
A wide range of rail links lead from Naples to an assortment of destinations in Italy, including useful Amalfi Coast gateways such as Salerno and Sorrento.
Country code: +39. Area code for Salerno province: 089
Giovanni Boccacio's bawdy classic, The Decameron mentions Ravello and the gardens of Villa Rufolo in one novella. More contemporary, John Steinbeck's 1953 novel Positano is set in and around the town of the same name. For fans of the macabre, John Webster's bloodbath of a play The Duchess of Malfi is a not-quite-true story, based on the machinations of the 16th-century Amalfi aristocracy.
Do go / Don't Go
The coast road can be crammed with coaches in the summertime, but the pay-off is the palpable buzz in the air during this time of year. March-May and September-October are quieter periods, and often the weather is still good. Winter can be romantic, although some hotels are closed in the low season.
Spaghetti alla anything is the star player on any Amalfi menu, but it would be a crime not to have it with fresh seafood from the daily catch - spaghetti alla vongole (clams) and prawn or mussel linguine are Mr & Mrs Smith's favoured foodstuffs. If you don't have a fish-friendly palate, the towns of Montepertuso and Nocelle are excellent destinations for meat and local produce. Some villages have their own specialties - Nerano is famous for black spaghetti con zucchini and Sorrento-style gnocchi comes with a deliciously rich, mozzarella and tomato sauce. The Amalfi Coast is also the homeland of limoncello - the sweet meringue-ish liqueur made from the lemon trees that grow all over the cliff sides.
Hotels can organise a road or boat taxi for you depending on your destination. For the return journey, either go down to the village dock, where there's usually a boat taxi stand awaiting your custom, or call the hotel to arrange a return by road. In Positano, the road taxi rank is at the top of the village, the boat taxi down at the right hand side of the dock. Boat taxi's aren't an option in inland Ravello - the road taxi rank is right in the centre.
10-15 per cent is appreciated.
The Amalfi Coast is navigated by thousands of steep steps - heels won't cut it, so pack some flats to stash in a bag when the stilettos come out; walking boots for serious yompers. Hats and head scarves which aren't likely to flee at the first sign of a breeze are a good investment for travelling by speedboat.
The town of Ravello is brimming with beauty, including the gardens of the Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone and the art-beating views out to sea. While there, pop into the 11th-century Duomo in Piazza Duomo - Ravello is one of the few villages on the Amlfi Coast to boast an ancient cathedral. The Amalfo Coast's incredible scenery has lured many an artist to the area - independent art galleries pepper the path to Positano. The coast itself is riddled with caves - most famous are the Coral Caves and La Grotta Blanca , where the water prefectly reflects a painting of the Virgin Mary .
After the boutique wonderland that is Capri, Positano is the capital of the Amalfi Coast's fashion scene, with myriad petite shops and galleries selling an array of jewelled, silk kaftans, Murano glass and designer dresses. The town's famous for artisans, tailors and cobblers who will make beautiful shoes or clothes to measure - and sometimes while you wait.
The views from Casa Angelina are mind-expanding enough but for one of the most staggering vistas in the world head to the gardens of Villa Cimbrone in Ravello, or have lunch at hotel itself and make sure you get a table nearest to the view. Don't forget that the views of the land from the sea can be just as impressive as vice versa.
The Sentiero degli Dei ('Path of the Gods') is a spectacularly scenic trek along the cliffs of the Amalfi Coast. Starting from Praiano, walk a few hundred metres towards Bomerano, until you reach the marble plague commemorating Giustino Fortunato, the economist who named the path, then follow the mountainside track to the monastery of San Domenico. It's a strenuous hike, all right, but more than worth the effort for the views alone. Go in the late afternoon for the added bonus of a stunning sunset.
June-September Opera, dance, music and theatre take over the village of Ravello and its gorgeous gardens, as the Ravello Festival events fill various villas including the famous Villa Rufolo (www.ravellofestival.com). April-September Positano Art Festival runs throughout the summer season month, featuring such diverse spectacles as fashion shows and canoe races, both classical and modern dance and theatre. See www.positanoartfestival.com for details.