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9. Watch the sun set on Positano
Positano is one of the most beautiful towns anywhere in Italy. Arranged around a beach of soft, volcanic sand and the tiled dome of the Church of Santa Maria Assunta are high terraces of terracotta-roofed buildings; these contrast in salmon pink, lemon yellow and brilliant white against the impossibly blue sky and sea. The Sirens in Homer’s Odyssey lured sailors to their doom on a rocky island by singing a song of seduction. According to local tradition, that island lies just off the Amalfi Coast. The Hotel Le Sirenuse is named after these mythical creatures, and its terrace offers what is generally agreed to be the most sublime view of Positano. It also serves the best drinks in town. As the sun sets, the lights start to twinkle. Were the Sirens really in Positano, they need not have sung for Odysseus – they could just have raised a glass of perfectly chilled prosecco from this terrace, and he would have made a beeline for the treacherous rocks below. (Hotel Le Sirenuse terrace bar, Via Cristoforo Colombo 30, Positano; open year-round; mains from £22; 00 39 89 875066)

8. Walk the Path of the Gods
Movie stars such as Grace Kelly, Humphrey Bogart and Elizabeth Taylor may have come for the glamour, but the Amalfi Coast’s inspiring natural scenery has also drawn literary names. The likes of Italo Calvino, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and DH Lawrence found beauty and tranquillity on one of the coast’s most stunning walks, the Sentiero degli Dei – the Path of the Gods. From the hilltop town of Agerola, an anonymous road leads towards the sea. Here begins the heavenly route, winding up and down precipitous ridges all the way to Positano. Back in the 16th century, this coast was often attacked by Saracens and pirates. The ruins of a defensive tower serve as a reminder of that more troubled time. Now, though, it is a place of perfect serenity. The air is gently scented with wild thyme and the only sound to be heard is that of chirping crickets and the occasional porcupine shuffling through the undergrowth. At every turn, there is a new and dramatic view down to the cobalt-blue Gulf of Salerno below. On a clear day, the island of Capri is distantly visible at the end of the Sorrentine Peninsula. If the Gods ever did walk the Earth, it is easy to imagine that they must have done so here. (Path of the Gods walk; 3 hours, signposted from the main piazza in Agerola)

7. Drive a classic car
It is a fantasy straight out of a James Bond film: taking the hairpin bends of the spectacular coastal road in a classic convertible car. There are many rides for rent in Sorrento – from dinky Fiat 500s to Jaguars and Ferraris. Today’s choice, a bright red 1970s Alfa Romeo with the roof down, hugs the hot tarmac as it rounds the sharp corners. Above, craggy rock faces veer up to the sky; below, they plummet to the deep blue Tyrrhenian Sea. The car purrs along at a moderate speed, all the better to take in the memorable views and slow enough, of course, not to mess up one’s hair. (Spider Life Style, Via Gottola 83, Piano de Sorrento; classic car hire from £88 per day; 00 39 33 3992 5141)

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