The city of Naples is situated in the Gulf of the same name, between Vesuvius and the volcanic area of the Phlegraean Fields, in what has been called “one of the most celebrated and enchanting settings in the world “.This natural cove has attracted visitors ever since the first Greek settlers arrived on the island of PithekusaCalleria Umberto I (now called Ischia), subsequently founding the new city of Neapolis.

The sumptuous hidden villas, the sheer drops down to the sea, the ridges that overhang the coast made these the most luxurious places for ancient Romans to holiday and enjoy themselves. In fact, the Romans gave the Neapolitan hill the name of Pausilypon (now called Posillipo), which means a “respite from worry”. At Posillipo it is also possible to admire the Crypta Neapolitana, which contains the Tomb of Virgil.

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.