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While the three pearls of the Amalfi Coast -- Positano, Ravello, and Amalfi -- are the undisputed stars of the area, lesser-known and often more-authentic towns can be found along the coast and farther inland. Those on the coast can also provide a good base as an alternative to the more crowded communities, provided you don't require loads of amenities.

Conca dei Marini

5km (3 miles) W of Amalfi

Little more than a hamlet, Conca is rarely visited, in spite of being right on the main road between Positano and Amalfi; most visitors usually limit themselves to the Emerald Grotto.

Furore

10.6km (6 1/2 miles) W of Amalfi

On the cliff above Conca dei Marini and the SS 163, this rural community was virtually unknown to the public until recently, when its wine obtained the D.O.C. label.

Agerola

14.5km (9 miles) W of Amalfi

A sparse rural area on a high plateau in the Monti Lattari range, Agerola is famous for its beauty and its cows' and sheep's milk for which the mountains were named (latte means milk). The region's best cheese comes from Agerola's farms -- indeed, some of the most excellent cheese in the country is made here. Completely bypassed by most, this rural area offers visitors beauty and autenthicity.