Amalfi Coast (Salerno), Italy
Salerno is a city in Campania, south west Italy, and is the capital of the province of the same name. It is located on the Gulf of Salerno on the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Salerno is a lively town, it’s promenade offers elegant shops and trendy cafés.
The historical Old Town is full of tiny passageways and hidden corners. Attractions include the 11th century Duomo (cathedral), the 12th century bell tower and the medieval aqueduct.
Perched on a hilltop 300m above town is Arechi Castle (Castello di Arechi). Spectacular views of Salerno, the Amalfi Coast and the Gulf of Salerno can be seen from the castle.
Museums include Archeologico Provinciale, Didattico della Scuola Medica Salernitana and Diocesano di Salerno.
The Giardino della Minerva (Botanical Gardens) and the Parco del Mercatello are popular places to relax and enjoy nature.
There is a small ferry terminal at the bottom of the Marina, for ferry trips along the coast of Amalfi.
Perhaps you have seen photographs of the famed Amalfi Coast, where colorful terraced homes nestled into cliff-side hills climb from the deep blue Mediterranean Sea. These port towns, south of the Sorrentine Peninsula in Italy, were not highly accessible via roads until the past 100 years.
Fresh produce is abundant, which combined with fresh seafood, makes dining along the Amalfi Coast a feast for the senses. Trees bearing olives, lemons, limes, oranges scent the air with a perfume that mixes with the salty sea air.
There are a number of sandy beaches located in and around Salerno, including one a few kilometres along the Amalfi coast road.
Seafood, pizza and pasta are widely available in local restaurants.
The disabled cruiser visiting the Amalfi Coast will encounter steep hills, many steps, and cobblestone. All of which is not wheelchair friendly. There are tons of steps and steep hills in Positano. Amalfi is flatter but a lot of walking is required unless you just want to stay down by the water which is nice for a meal and the views but you wont get to really explore the towns.
Where You’re Docked
Cruise ships dock at the Port of Salerno, where it is a 15 minute shuttle ride into the center of town. Some cruise lines offer transportation. Most cruise lines provide a shuttle service to the Piazza della Concordia, which is about 2.5 miles away.
The City of Salerno also offers free shuttles to the port gates as walking is not permitted inside the port area.
Good to Know
The towns on the Amalfi Coast climb steeply into the hills. Many destinations might require climbing many steps. They are not stroller or wheelchair-friendly, and those needing assistance might only be able to visit the lower areas of the towns.
Italy, as part of the European Union, uses euros. ATMs will dispense euros using your debit card and are the cheapest way to acquire the currency. Credit cards are accepted in shops and restaurants in the busier areas of town, but you may find you’ll need cash in smaller shops and eateries on side streets or off the beaten path. Local exchange shops are available, but will charge higher fees than your bank.
Italian is the official language. Most people you will encounter will speak and understand some English but probably will have a heavy Italian accent. You might need to use a little charades to help communicate. Remember grazie, which means “thank you,” and you’ll receive smiles for the effort.
Ceramics decorated in sea blues and lemon yellows are popular items found in Amalfi Coast stores. From serving ware to drink ware to dinnerware, shops carry plenty of options to take home and decorate your kitchen or dining room.
Follow the main street of Amalfi, past the cathedral and the gelato stations, choose any restaurant with its doors open to the outside breeze, and you won’t go wrong. Seafood is a mainstay there, with squid, shellfish, clams and sardines often used in pastas, entrees and sauces. Pizza got its start just a few miles down the coast in Naples, and pies with tangy local tomatoes and fresh cheese, buffalo mozzarella is a specialty, are offered everywhere. For dessert, look for sfogliatelle, a stuffed shell pastry that defines Italian baking. Lunch is the main meal of the day, and many restaurants serve fixed-price menus. Locals generally don’t eat before 8:30 p.m.
Points of Interest
- Amalfi Coast – The Amalfi coast and its namesake town offer miles of beautiful scenery-from the fragrant lemon groves dotting the lush landscape to the dramatic cliffs that meet the sea below.
- Amalfi Coast Village – The Amalfi Coast villages include: Amalfi, Maiori, Minori and Vietri sul Mare. Each village boasts the handcrafted majolica ware, an Amalfi Coast specialty since the Middle Ages.
- Pompeii – Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD and completely buried the city of Pompeii. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with fascinating ruins that hint of a once-thriving city. Accessible Pompeii Tour is a friendly tour for wheelchair users, and mobility scooters. The itinerary is tailored along a special path that finally made Pompeii accessible to everyone. Thanks to ramps and elevators created to overcome architectural barriers, you will be able to experience and explore Pompeii Archaeological Site as everyone else. You will enjoy the visit of amazing buildings with their mosaics and wall paintings. A journey through the Ancient Pompeii to discover how its inhabitants lived before the tremendous eruption of Mt Vesuvius on 79 AD. Start from the Amphitheater to make the best of special ramps designed to access many of the ancient buildings and open areas. To explore the town of Pompeii you will be using the recently renewed sidewalks and paths made out of smooth concrete. On your way out you will use the specific elevator made for travelers with special needs. By the exit are also available wheel-chair accessible restrooms.
- Sorrento – This picturesque town sits on the cliffs overlooking the Bay of Naples and boasts stunning views and seafood delicacies. It is also known for its Limoncello, a tangy lemon liqueur. Sorrento is a beautiful town perched on a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Disabled visitors can get from the dock to the town above using an elevator located at the west end of the shore. Although there are cobblestones, Sorrento is basically all flat, it is built on a plateau, so most is accessible. Sorrento has a main square – Piazza Tasso and the Main street, Corso Italia, that are all flat and even in grounds. Moving around with the wheelchair in town, some sidewalks have curb cuts and some don’t, you will be able to reach some of the areas outside this, but at a certain point and due to the natural geography, you will find cobblestones as in the majority of the destinations in Italy. There are numerous opportunities for shopping in Sorrento. Most stores have a single step at the entrance.
- Capri – This gorgeous island destination off the Sorrento Peninsula has been a getaway for the rich and famous since Roman times. The city of Capri comprises the eastside and Anacapri lies to the west. While there have been great strides in recent years to make the island more accessible for the disabled, there is still have a long way to go. From your arriving ferry or hydrofoil the only problem will be maneuvering the wheelchair through the crowds. The funicolare, the cable car to the town center, is pretty much accessible in that an elevator was installed a few years ago at the upper station and one of those moveable platforms to bypass the stairs. Other than for the inclines, you can safely move throughout most of the town center. As for other locations on the island, a taxi would be the best bet to get from Capri up to Anacapri. Only one of the city buses is wheelchair capable with a lift in the rear, and that needs to be arranged in advance. The fact remains that Capri is a mountain sticking out of the sea. There are few roads for motor vehicles and lots of narrow alleyways with steps, hundreds of steps. Yes you can visit with a wheelchair, but aside from the central areas of the two towns, there will be difficulties and impossibilities at every turn.
- Positano – Pastel houses tumble down the cliffs to a beach dotted with fishing boats. Long a draw for sophisticated travelers, Positano boasts elegant boutiques and seaside cafés. There is one road through Positano and it is fairly high up. There is a small bus that goes down to the area in front of the Duomo but the church itself is reached by steps. There is a ramp that goes from the main road to the center of town. Going downhill won’t be bad, but it is a steep uphill incline. From the center of town, there are a series of steps down to the church and then to the beach. Positano is a city of stairs. Even those who aren’t physically challenged can have difficulty getting back and forth from the beach, etc. Since the streets are so narrow,(in many cases they are tiny alleyways) taxis are mostly used for arrivals/departures, and trips to other towns and restaurants. If you have difficulty with stairs, Positano is not the best destination.
- Herculaneum – Discovered in 1709, Herculaneum was buried under mud in the 79 A.D. eruption. Excavations revealed its well-preserved Roman villas. Two wheelchair ramps lead to an accessible bridge that brings you over the ancient Herculaneum shoreline and into the city. It provides step-free access to many of the ancient streets, sidewalks, and buildings. Some of the sidewalks have uneven terrain and some of the buildings have a step to get into them. On the backside of the visitors center is a wheelchair ramp. An accessible path above Herculaneum provides great views of the formerly buried city below. There is a ramp that leads down to a wheelchair accessible Herculaneum bridge into the city. The bridge is 650 feet away from the visitors center. The bridge is made of smooth boards and metal grating. The sidewalks in accessible Herculeaneum mainly consists of concrete. There are a few areas that are a little narrow or uneven. The staff has installed wide metal bridges for wheelchair users and everyone else to use to get from the sidewalk on one side of the ancient street to the sidewalk on the other side of the ancient street.
- Mt. Vesuvius – This volcano destroyed the ancient cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Now dormant, it is a bucolic national park with many walking trails and a summit open to visitors. Mt. Vesuvius is visible throughout the Naples and Pompeii region. It is located 5 miles away from Pompeii and 4.25 miles from Herculaneum. Your accessible Mt. Vesuvius Tour will allow you to see the entire region. Most visitors have to park their cars and walk up the 1/2 mile uphill route to the crater rim. The path is covered in rocks and is not wheelchair friendly. On the Mt. Vesuvius accessible tour you will have special permission to ride in a car up to the crater rim to see inside the crater and enjoy the view of the Bay of Naples region below.