Vietri sul Mare trip planner

A ceramics town at the end of the Amalfi Coast

You'll pass though several more small villages as you make your way east on the Amalfi Coast toward Salerno, but the one most worth a stopover is at the tail end of the coast, Vietri Sul Mare, these days practically a Salerno suburb and famous for its hand-painted ceramics.

All those hand-painted floor tiles and ceramic plates decorating the hotels and restaurants along the coast come from the famous workshops of Vietri sul Mare.

The bus lets you off right at the heart of the ceramics zone, so you can easily do a spot of shopping for these hand-painted plates and espresso sets before continuing on. Vietri is southern Italy's premier ceramics center, with dozens of botteghe plying a craft that goes back well over 500 years—but has become a bit of a tourist industry.

Among the gaggle of schlocky stores, seek out these quality workshops, each of which has contributed plates to my own table at home.

Ceramics workshops in Vietri

The best of those right on the main drag is Avallone, Corso Umberto 122–124 (tel. +39-089-210-029 or +39-089-210-538), with good price and quality control and some innovative patterns.

My favorite shop is V. Pinto, Corso Umberto 31 (tel. +39-089-210-271, At 150 years, it's the oldest in town, and also one of the largest, as adept in creating new patterns as in following those of their display plates that date back to the early 1700s. Head into the back room to rummage for individual pieces (as opposed to entire dining room sets).

Francesco Raimondi, one of Pinto's star artists, struck out on his own in 1998 with a little shop at Via Mazzini 3 (tel. +39-089-761-787, In his highly symbolic and well-executed designs he practices both craft, by painting traditional patterns, and art by inventing his own.

Don't leave town without checking out the funky, ceramic-studded building of Solimene, Via Madonna degli Angeli 7 (tel. +39-089-210-243,, an old ceramics school and factory now a bit dilapidated and serving as a vast showroom for the firm's output (good prices, but somewhat sloppy work).

A lunch stop in Vietri

At La Locanda, they greet you with an aperitif as you come in off the street, leading you to the 10 tables upstairs set on terra-cotta floors under a hewn-beam ceiling. With a young but professional staff and radio playing downstairs, it has a hip-meets-candlelit air—but, lest they forget their roots, the food is served on Vietri plates.

You won't want for variety, with lists of antipasti, primi, and secondi as long as the dishes themselves are adventurous and tasty. Fresh seafood and fish are their pride, but there are also lots of great meat- or veggie-based pastas and risottos.

Start with fusilli bizantina (homemade corkscrew pasta with octopus, crab, shrimp, and baby tomatoes), or tortellini ai carciofi (meat-stuffed pasta rings in a cream-of-artichoke sauce). Next sink your fork into filetto al porto (steak cooked in Port wine), or spigola al forno con patate (oven-roasted bass with potatoes).
Corso Umberto I 52, Vietri sul Mare. tel. +39-089-761-070. Closed Mon Oct–Apr.

» Hotels in Vietri

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How long does Sorrento take?

Planning your time: Sorrento has maybe 2-3 hours of mediocre sightseeing. To be brutally honest it is probably the least interesting town in this area. It is only famous for its location.

Sorrento makes an ideal base for exploring Campania thanks to its location at the nexus of regional public transit—pretty much the only place from which you can get anywhere without having to change mode of transportation: Trains direct to Pompeii and Naples; ferries to Capri; buses or ferries down the Amalfi Coast.

If you prefer the home-base style of travel, Sorrento is the perfect base. Figure on three days/two nights here (hit Pompeii on the train ride down from Naples—you can store your luggage temporarily at the Pompei train station—then spend one day each visiting Capri and the Amalfi Coast).

If, however, you prefer to travel from town to town, just treat Sorrento as a way-station to switch from train to bus or ferry; skip Sorrento entirely and sleep in a more interesting locale on the Amalfi Coast or Capri.

» Sorrento itineraries

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