Sometimes even the laziest of beach vacations need a dose of history and while the Amalfi Coast and Capri are not as packed with artistic and archeological treasure as their nearby Naples and Rome there is just enough to keep even the keenest culture vulture busy.
This quirky museum in Anacapri was once the home of an American civil war Confederate officer. The Casa Rossa is a colorful hodgepodge of architectural styles and the rooms have a perfectly lovely collection of 18th-century oils set in heavy gold frames. The real treasure is hiding in a corner on the third floor where you will find a set of sculptures that the Emperor Tiberius had placed in the famous Blue Grotto.
via Giuseppe Orlandi 79, Anacapri, Italy, +39 081 838 2193
The charming town of Minori is home to more than some of the Amalfi Coast’s very best pastries. This 1st-century Roman villa is an easy alternative to the sometimes overwhelming and hot Roman city of Pompeii. This single villa, which was essentially the beach house of a wealthy Roman, has intact rooms dedicated to music and theater, baths and a collection of artifacts, frescoes, and mosaics. There are also the remains of a garden which hosts concerts during the summer months.
Via Capo di Piazza, 28, 84121 Minori, Italy, +39 089 852893
A small museum underneath the main cathedral, Santa Maria a Mare in the town of Minori holds relics of many saints, including beautiful hand carved and painted religious statues of the Madonna and other revered saints. Glass cases display ornate reliquaries fashioned out of sterling silver and gold and holy vestments. A highlight is the 15th-century Gothic style belfry, thought to be the oldest of its kind to be found anywhere in Italy.
Piazzale Mons. Milo Nicola Prevosto, 84010 Maiori, +39 089 877090
This is the place for that picture of the Amalfi Coast you keep seeing in your Instagram feed, but after you get your shot go inside the Villa Rufolo and explore the decorated cloisters and the connected Hall of the Knights and the Great Tower. The tower dates back to medieval times and stretches almost 100 feet skyward. There are contemporary art exhibits in some of the spaces and the tower has recently been opened: you can climb to the top for a bird’s eye views over the Amalfi Coast.
Piazza Duomo, 84010 Ravello, Italy, +39 089 857621
The colorful ceramics that you see all over the coast are most likely made in the very colorful town of Vietri sul Mare. If you would like to learn more about the history of the plates and bowls you are bringing home with you, schedule a visit to the Museo della Ceramica. The museum is located inside the grand Villa Guariglia high above the town. Ceramics have been an important part of life in this part of Italy for centuries. Beginning with the production of religious articles in the late 17th century, the industry really gained worldwide popularity in the 1920s. Explore the museum’s three floors which detail the evolution of the craft.
Via Nuova Raito, Raito di Vietri sul Mare, Italy, +39 089.211835