The inhabitants of the Coast are crazy, they are drunk on sun. But they know how to live, taking advantage of a strength that few of us possess: the strength of fantasy”.

This is how Roberto Rossellini, maestro of neo-realist cinema and husband of Ingrid Bergman, loved to remember the Amalfi Coast where he set many of his films (mainly in Maiori) between the 1940s and the 1950s. The fantasy of the inhabitants and the excellent climate make the Amalfi Coast a special place to visit, particularly towards the end of the summer, in the autumn, when most of the tourists have gone home and it is possible to enjoy the colors and scents of these places in tranquility, savoring the local products which are celebrated with lively traditional festivals.

1The August crowds have left the beaches and Italian children are getting ready for school. My sister and I decide to take a road trip somewhere in Italy from our respective homes in Rome. It doesn’t take long to settle on a destination we both love – the Costiera Amalfitana – 35 miles of staggeringly beautiful coastline meandering south from Naples.
 
Having covered Italy as the correspondent for LIFE Magazine for two decades, I’ve been up and down the peninsula many times. Yes, the Italian Alps are celestial, Portofino is glorious, the Greek temples in Sicily awe-inspiring, but nowhere has consistently seduced me with its eloquent charm like the Amalfi Coast. Ville in Italia finds us a house perched on the cliff just above the coast road in Praiano, one town west of Positano.