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Info on the Amalfi Coast.

We are planning a trip to the Amalfi Coast and cannot decide between the Palazzo Sasso, La
Serineuse and The San Pietro. Any opinions would be greatly appreciated. Also, the off season is much less expensive. How is the weather in May or early October?

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  1. We visited Sorrento 3 years ago and are heading back this Fri 10/12. The weather in Oct. is magnificent. Cool mornings, warm afternoons and cool evenings.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Doreen

      september and october is usually beautiful throughout the coast. warm days, cool nights.
      the san pietro in positano is amazing but just up the hill from there is a little known 'restaurant and residence' or what is more commonly known to Americans as a bed & breakfast. it is called 'al barilotto del nonno' "my grandfather's barrell" and is the most charming place in the area. ran by an entire family that lives on the premises, if you are looking for an authentic italian experience with great food and at more reasonable prices than the san pietro, i would highly recommend here without a doubt.

      i've stayed at both places, and ever since 'nonno' i am quite content with going to the san pietro in early evening for drinks and the view and then strolling back up the hill towards the restaurant for a dinner where you can make your own personal changes to the menu.

      (you won't find their website on the internet b/c they dont have one, if you are interested further please inquire...)

      1. re: gozomo333

        Thank you for your many tips. We are leaving in a few weeks and are looking to eat and stay on the Amalfi Coast for a few days. Al Barilotto des nonno seems to be just the kind of place we love. If you could let me know some prices to see if its in my budget fist and also some links to get in touch with them.

        Thank you

        1. re: QcBoy

          the price is 120 euro per night for a regular room and breakfast in the morning. they have a full service restaurant open to the public, but dinner is not included in the price. however, we eat there most nights because it is so good.

          the rooms are very simple and show age, but are kept very clean. dont expect 5 star accomodations. there is no central air system, so the summers are hot and windows must be kept open, allowing bugs in at night. the best time to go is now, in the fall, when the weather is cool. they are closed for winter from jan or feb to april i believe.

          but the food and the people make up for the rooms. the family is so kind and helpful and make you feel right at home. you will basically be living like the locals do if you stay here. but again, if you are looking for an authentic experince then i highly recommend this.

          i have to go dig up their phone number for you, they have no other means of contact, as they are not technologically savvy. i posted pictures of the room and dining area below (hopefully they work?) to give you a better idea. anything else feel free to ask.

          1. re: gozomo333

            al barilotto del nonno
            positano, italy
            01139 (089) 875618
            ask for gianni.

      2. re: Doreen

        How long are you staying in Positano? October will be lovely, that's when I always go. If you are there at least a week consider renting a villa. Summerinitaly.com has some gorgeous ones and that way you can experience grocery shopping and cooking with the local foods! I always get up early, go to the fish markets for today's fresh catch, stop by Melinda Fruit for their first delivery of the day, then pick up some bread, fresh mozzarella and whatever else looks good. You get to know the local people and bask in the real sense of the place rather than just feel like a tourist, We knew we had "arrived" when after our 3rd year vacationing in Positano our grocer Ernesto told us we had a line of credit there! The Positanese are very (and rightly so) proud of their city and they really appreciate it when tourists take the time to get to know Positano, rather than just walk around the beach and the main square, then leave.

        1. re: kittenwithawhip

          Do you realize you are responding to a 2 year old post?

      3. I don't like staying in Positano - too much of a zoo. Praiano 1 town down the road is a lot more relaxing. I like the Tramonto d'Oro there - ask for their best room. Views back of Positano are spectacular. It's a 4 star though, not 5.

        Le Sirenuse is above town, not right on the coast. San Pietro is south of town, so if you do want 5 star, this is on the water. Palazzo Sasso in Ravello is spectacular - I just feel a little isolated in Ravello if wanting to do sightseeing. Although, if just hanging out & relaxing, Ravello would be my choice.

        1 Reply
        1. re: torta basilica

          Somehow lost the food info when I edited...

          One drawback of Ravello is dining is rather limited and its a long way anywhere else on a very treacherous road. Wait til you get back to your hotel to drink your limoncello! Staying on the coast offers many more food options. I have heard raves about Mama Agate's Ravello cooking class, but haven't taken it myself.

        2. We were in Positano last year for our anniversary and I honestly would not stay there again. We stayed at the Marincanto which is literally next door to the Sirenuse. The hotel was fine (albeit overpriced but that is true for all of Positano) but Positano in and of itself is overrun by Americans. Next time we will be staying in Sorrento which has a more lively atmosphere at night, but offers the same access to various villages and historical sites. It you are moving around by public transport, Sorrento is probably the way to go so as to avoid the local buses.

          1. I've been to Sorrento in early May, and the weather was good overall, but there were a few showers. Very comfortable temperatures. I would recommend staying in Sorrento because it has some very good restaurants you can walk to, and from here you can drive the Amafi coast and have lunch in Positano, visit Pompeii and Herculaneum, and take a ferry to Capri.

            1. Just returned from Sorrento (Amalfi coast). Thought I'd pass along our favorite restaurants in Sorrento. Antica Trattoria, Caruso, Il Buco, daGigino. I'd avoid O'Parriancho which was recommended by locals but we felt it very touristy and the food was not great.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Doreen

                I can highly recommend Antica Trattoria in Sorrento as we were there 2 weeks ago. Ask for Tony.

                1. re: mgebs

                  Antica Trattoria is very good, but Caruso is the best in town. Try both if you can.

                  1. re: rrems

                    I can third Antica Trattoria. I would also stay in Sorrento over Positano...

              2. I have not stayed in any of these hotels. I stayed several times at the Hotel Victoria Excelsior in Sorrento and once in rooms above the Don Alfonso restaurant in Sant'Agata dui Golfe. Sorrento has better access to sites:
                -- by train to Naples, Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Caserta, and a bit longer to Salerno;
                -- by ferry to Naples, Capri, and in the warmer months to Ischia and the Amalfi coast;
                -- and by bus to all these places (save Capri and Ischia), including Sant'Agata, and the tip of the Sorrentine Peninsula .
                -- One can also rent a car in Sorrento, a car the easier way to see Cumae, the sulphur site and antiquities in Puzzuoli, Miserno, Vesuvius, Capua Vetere, San Angelio in Formis, Caserta, Casertavecchia, Benevento, Salerno, and (a must see) Paestum. The road from Sorrento to the A-1 superhighway isn't bad.

                I do know these hotels' locations. La Siracuse, just about the top hotel in Positano, has a splendid view of the gulf. My problem with Positano, so beloved by Americans since Steinbeck, is that the town is located in a huge natural amphitheater, surrounded on three sides by high cliff mountains, so that, the town facing south, gets not much sun mornings and evenings. I did think that the hiking opportunities would be wonderful. There's good mass transit to Sorrento, Sant'Agatha, and the rest of the Amalfi Coast. Ferry service is available in the summer.

                San Pietro is east of Positano, and thus is not in a town but rather isolated. Still, the SITA bus will get you around. Ask if the hotel has a shuttle service. The view from the hotel, located on a headland that sticks out into the bay, go over to Capri.

                Were I do choose from your list, I'd choose Palazzo Sasso, simple because Ravello is one of those places on the face of the Earth that is both Paradisal in wonder and Olympic in height. The Palazzo Sasso has a sublime view of the gulf from high in the sky. Ravello is well served by a city bus to Amafi, from where one can take the SITA bus to Salerno, Positano, and Sorrento. I wonder if the Villa Cimbrone would be an even better choice of a hotel.

                Whatever you do, DON'T TRY TO DRIVE the Amalfi coast road. The road is quite narrow torturous, the Italian drivers all in a game of chicken.

                As for food, the area is extremely rich in outstanding restaurants.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Sid Cundiff

                  With regard to the Amalfi coast road, in May or October there is relatively little traffic and it is not difficult at all. I have never been there in high season and imagine it would be much busier, but in the off-season I don't think most drivers would have a problem.

                  1. re: rrems

                    the OP does not say how long they want to stay on the Amalfi Coast - its a perfectly good option to split the trip between two locations, say Ravello and Sorrento - to experience the different restaurants and other experiences the coast has to offer. We loved staying in Ravello, enjoyed meals at Cumpa Cosimo and a'Paranza, down the hill in Atrani particularly, but each of the little towns in the hills and on the coast has one or more good restaurants - walking in the hills and down from Ravello to the coast towns is great (you can take a bus or use a rental car to go farther afield or bet back to your starting point if you have hiked (maps and SITA bus schedules are avalaible at the Ravello tourist office or in the Sunflower walk guide to Amalfi/Sorrento/ Capri. Sorrento is really the only town on the coast for touring farther afield due to its train connections - I really DONT recommend driving the coast drive or over the mountains - its not fun unless you are a very secure driver, and parking along the coast drive is scarce.

                2. we have stayed at the san pietro-it is an excellent low key and private hotel. they have complimentary shuttle service into positano which is about 1 mile from the hotel.
                  they have a complimentary boat that does short excursions every day- the service is great. Positano is full of tourists but beautiful nonetheless. The San Pietro's local just out of town makes it a winner. good restuarants- Donna Rosa in Montepertuso-
                  for lunch da adolfo and la gravitella- both restaurants have boat service from the san pietro. We are trying the Palazzo Sasso for the first time next year.

                  1. Wow, this started a long time ago but I'll chime in. Forget Sorrento and Positano b/c you will be over run with Americans and English but very little Italians. Stay further south in Amalfi at the Santa Caterina and also stay at the Sasso or Villa Cimbrone in Ravello for sheer beauty Go into Amalfi at nite or early in day. Nearby are great little towns like Maiori, Furore[go to the agriturismo restaurant], Cetara and Vietri Sul Mare[great ceramics]. Don't drive, take the SITA bus. Stay away from tourist restaurants. A great contact is Giocondo Cavaliere, from Furore who runs a travel/tour business out of Amalfi/Furore. Honest, intelligent and perfect English.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: a81

                      Wow. I think your panning of Sorrento and Positano is a little harsh. I spent 10 days on the Amalfi coast. Stayed mostly in Ravello and Sorrento but took the SITA bus (on this we can agree) and ferries around to Naples, Positano, Amalfi, Atrani, and Capri. Had only really wonderful experiences that were not ruined by other English speakers (probably because we tried very hard to try and improve our Italian). Of my time there, I would say that Capri fits with your harsh critcism of being overly touristy. The reality is that all of Amalfi is busy and filled with tourists (including you, an English speaker) - in August it happens to be filled mostly with Italians. I would recommend staying in a B&B because the hosts treat you like family and give you inside advice on dining, exhibits, etc. - and as for your aversion to English speakers, let me tell you, it came in handy during an emergency! PS - I speak 3 languages and don't have to rely on English when I'm abroad.....

                      1. re: a81

                        To a81:
                        I am staying at le sirenuse in 2 weeks, I will only be there 3 nights, one night we are going to Villa Cimbrone as recommended by others who have been there (it's my first time.) We were told to go for the sunset but when I looked on line it says the gardens close to the public 30 min prior to sunset. Is there a certain place people go in Villa Cimbrone to do this? We were then going to go to dinner at Rossellini's at the Sasso. Have you eaten at the restaurant in Sasso?

                        (also, regarding tuttebene's post, my boyfriend has stayed at le sirenuse & said it is spectacular, we tried for the san pietro but it was booked)

                        1. re: porter.florida

                          Gozomo and Talamo,

                          I see this post is from some time ago, but I am travelling to Amalfi coast in a couple weeks. From the suggestions of this board, Ive made reservations with Gianni for Bariletto del Nonno. Really looking forward to it! I was hoping you might have some suggestions on places to eat nearby, and how to get there? Also, how far is it from Positano to del Nonno? Is it close enough to walk from the bus from where the bus from Sorrento drops off at night?