As scenic as Tuscany and nearby Umbria are, perhaps nothing can compare with the dramatic vistas offered by travelling south of Rome along the Amalfi Coast. This is a drive not suited to everyone. Hairpin turns and vertical drops that end at the sea, hundreds of metres below, are the norm. Large buses frequently cannot pass by each other, so traffic is controlled in various parts of the highway to allow for the interchange.

For those who can get past the vertigo, the reward is almost beyond imagination. Towns and villages, and even cities perched on mountainsides, appear like they could themselves tip and fall on to the beaches and rocks below at any second.

The colours of the ocean, with its dancing reflections, are hypnotic. And when you later arrive on that beach yourself, you discover the most unique places to wander.

Capri, Sorrento, and Amalfi have now become playgrounds of the rich and famous. There is still reasonably-priced accommodation to be had, but it is becoming scarcer.

Yet surprisingly, dining in Amalfi itself was not only affordable, but nowhere in Italy would we find better pizzas and pasta. The locals say it is because they produce the best olive oil in the world, and after a few meals, we are not about to argue with them.

Once you are in Sorrento make a point of taking the ferry across to Capri. It is a relaxing Isle and worth spending time having lunch as well as looking around.

On the way be sure to take in Pompeii. It is a fascinating place and well worth the time to see how devastating nature can be.

If you’re travelling through Italy carrying a day pack will be very helpful.  Here is a choice of different models. What I recommend even more is a day pack from the PacSafe line.  They are a bit more expensive but they are cut proof and the zippers can’t be easily toyed with.

Italy's Pompeii.
Italy's Pompeii.
Italy's Pompeii.