Day Tripping – Amalfi Coast to Paestum

Temple of Neptune, Paestum, Italy, 2013
Temple of Ceres, Paestum, Italy, 2013

Spending time on the Amalfi Coast is as close to what I imagine heaven being like.  While it may be hard to pull yourself away from the beautiful seaside towns of Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello there are many wonderful places in the surrounding area that I would recommend visiting if you have time – Pompeii and Paestum being two of these.

Paestum located in the Campania region of southern Italy is about 120 km to the southeast of Naples near the Amalfi Coast.   Several ways to get to Pasteum from the Amalfi Coast (Solarno, Positano, Amalfi) – By car (recommended), by bus, or by train.  All require some planning but I assure you the reward is worth it.

Buses run on the SITA line and trains via Trentitalia.  More information can be found by visiting Rick Steve’s website, Rick Steves Europe.

Pasteum, 2013
Temple of Neptune (foreground) and Basilica, Pasteum, 2013

Paestum originally the ancient city of Poseidonia was founded by the greeks in 600 B.C. and later became a colony of the Roman Empire in 210 B.C.  I have discovered that there are more intact and well preserved temples in Italy than there are in Greece and Paestum will not disappoint on that score.  In addition to the temples and ancient ruins which include remains of residential homes, forum, amphitheater, swimming pools, etc. there is a wonderful Museum founded in 1952, Museo Archeologico Nazionale, which displays some of the artifacts found in the nearby burial grounds including sculptures, bronzes, ceramics, terracotta, and actual tombs with beautifully painted details. The most famous of these tombs from the 4th century B.C. is the tomb of the diver which has recently been restored.

Pasteum, 2013Roman Road, Via Sacra, Pasteum, 2013

On this particular trip we drove from Positano down the coast through Amalfi, they should hand out awards, to Salerno and then inland across beautiful plains to Paestum.  Parking is easy and inexpensive (2 euros) and there are plenty of quaint places for lunch and many souvenir shops some selling quite beautiful reproductions of Paestan Ceramics.  Truly a bargain when compared to the same items in Rome or Naples.   While I recommend visiting Pompeii, Paestum is much less crowded and we often had no one in sight when walking through the ruins – you truly feel like you have been transported in time.  Make sure you bring your camera.   Buon Viaggio!

Amalfi Coast – Positano

Positano Harbor, Amalfi Coast, 2013 View of Positano Harbor from Hotel Poseidon, Amalfi Coast, 2013

Of all the places in Italy that I have had the good fortune to visit the Amalfi Coast is the one place that I most often think about.  There are not enough adjectives to describe the beauty of the convergence of the sea and the coastline. Easily reached by car via the Autostrada Del Sole “Motorway of the Sun” (A1) or taking the train from Rome to Naples and then taking a bus or taxi to the Amalfi Coast.  If you drive you will definitely put a few notches on your drivers license as the combination of switchback roads and deathwish motorcyclists is something you have to experience for yourself.

Beyond the seaside towns of Sorrento, Positano,  Ravello and Amalfi there are several other destinations I would recommend – Capri and Paestum being two of my favorites.

Positano, Amalfi Coast, 2013Positano, Amalfi Coast, 2013

The best way to enjoy this part of Italy is by boat and there are many options from water taxis to private charters.   I highly recommend considering renting a boat and spending the day with Barbara and Antonio local residents and two of the most charming people you could hope to meet.   They are both very knowledgable about the history of the area and by boat can take you to some of the most spectacular grottos, coves, waterfalls, out of the way restaurants, and islands in the area.  Barbara Tours Positano (Boat Charters)

Boating from Positano to Capri
Boating from Positano to Capri with Barbara and Antonio, Amalfi Coast, 2011