The Amalfi Coast remains an intriguing mix of sophistication and simplicity. A mere seagull's spit from the superyachts, chauffeur-driven Mercedes-Benz, and five-star hotels, another more rural reality exists. Around precariously stacked hill villages, farmers still cultivate small plots of steeply terraced land, and their wives make cheese; down on the coast, tiny fishing communities make a living from the sea.
Nicky Swallow lost her heart to Italy's famed Amalfi Coast 30 years ago and has been returning on and off-season ever since. Venturing off the well-trodden tracks, she seeks out the hottest new highlights, secluded old favorites and secret spots that only the locals know about.
The link between these worlds is Strada Statale 163 - the 'road of 1,000 bends' - commissioned by King Ferdinand II of Naples and completed in 1852. It hugs cliffs and deep gorges for 40km, slicing through lemon groves and whitewashed villages, rising and dipping above the shimmering sea. It is only ever wide enough for two lanes of traffic, with little room for maneuver, so traffic jams are unavoidable. And if you happen to be in an accident, well, as the Italians say with a resigned shrug… buona notte.