Picture of the Amalfi Coast in Campania, Italy

The town of Positano is one of many along the Amalfi Coast, a famed stretch known for its curving roads and breathtaking vistas.

Photograph by Anzenberger-Fink, Anzenberger/Redux

Excerpt from 100 Places That Can Change Your Child's Life, by Keith Bellows

The Amalfi Coast is the playground of the social elite and well heeled, but don’t let that throw you. The Italians love kids and this area puts everyone at close quarters.

“My family has been here for generations,” says Antonio Sersale, owner of Le Sirenuse Hotel. “I played here as a child. My kids grew up in Positano. All you need to do is reach out to the locals and ask: ‘Show me what your kids do.’”

John Steinbeck called the Amalfi Coast a “dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and . . . beckoningly real after you have gone.”

Start your dream trip along the coast in Naples after spending an afternoon at nearby Pompeii—most kids will be captivated by this tableau of daily life frozen forever in the lava flow of Mount Vesuvius. Check out Naples’s aquarium (the oldest in Europe, with 200 different species of fish and marine plants) and the Museo Nazionale Ferroviario (National Railway Museum), which enthralls children with its old engines, cars, and railway equipment.

Have sublime pizza at the hole-in‑the‑wall Umberto (live minstrels play on Sundays), then take the two-hour curving drive south down the Amalfi Coast to the cliff-hanging town of Positano, a crush of pastel-hued buildings that tumble down hills overlooking the Gulf of Salerno, part of the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Go down to Positano’s big beach, Spiaggia Grande, or the smaller Spiaggia del Fornillo beach. Enjoy some time sunbathing, then point your kids to the artists bent toward their easels and canvases doing pure en plein air (French for “in the open air,” referring to painting outdoors). Ask your children what they see in the paintings and how these pictures speak to them.

Know Before You Go

Insider Tip: Take a boat to the Faraglioni, three towering rocks just off Capri’s shore, and look for the lucertola azzurra, or blue lizard. Known for scales as blue as the Capri sea, the lizards are only found here.

Restaurants:

Da Vincenzo: To satisfy that sweet tooth, take the family to this spot in Positano. They have original dishes like strawberry mousse, as well as the more common tiramisu. But this place is not just about dessert; seafood is the main cuisine here.

Lo Guarracino: Not necessarily known for its food, which is mostly seafood with pizza and steak, this place is famous for its views. It is positioned on a path connecting the two beaches in Positano. You can choose to sit in the garden, or the kids might enjoy watching the cooks from their table. It is popular, so make reservations.

D’Alessios: One of the oldest restaurants in Capri, this family-run eatery continues to serve top-rated Mediterranean cuisine from a prime location overlooking Fuorlovado Street. It is expensive, but you may be able to rub elbows with visiting celebrities.

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