Florence's iconic art and architecture are wonderful to behold, but there's something to be said for relaxing in an Italian beach town. Maiori is a great place to soak up the sun and discover the wonders of the Amalfi Coast. Florence and Maiori are excellent stops on a food and wine tour, too.
Most people traveling to Maiori take the train from Florence to Salerno and continue on to Maiori by ferry or taxi. Driving is a good, if longer, alternative, particularly if you plan to stop along the way and don't want to use public transportation or taxis to see the sights. Bus service from Florence to Maiori is infrequent and slow. Flying to Naples, the closest airport to Maiori, requires a stop in Rome and ground transportation to Maiori. Traveling by air or bus to Maiori from Florence is only recommended if you have plenty of time to spare.
By Train and Taxi, Ferry or Private Transfer
Duration: 4.5 hours
Trains to Salerno depart from Florence's Santa Maria Novella station. Both Trenitalia and Italotreno offer service from Florence to Salerno, and there are plenty of departures to choose from. Because of the distance involved, choose a high-speed train rather than a regional train.
Once you arrive in Salerno, continue on to Maiori by taxi, private transfer, or Travelmar ferry. Travelmar operates ferries from Salerno to many points on the Amalfi Coast from April through October. There are several departures for Maiori each day.
By Car or Private Transfer
Duration: 6 hours or more, depending on traffic
Driving from Florence to Maiori is fairly straightforward, although the drive is long and you will probably encounter traffic. The fastest way to drive from Florence to Maiori is via the A30/E841 and A1/E35 toll highways and Strada Statale 163 (SS163), Via Costiera. SS163 is narrow, winding, and hilly, so you will need to drive carefully and avoid distractions. If you prefer to look at the Amalfi Coast views, consider hiring a private driver; it won't be cheap, but your stress level will drop dramatically.
Florence and Maiori both have a Zona a Traffico Limitato, or ZTL, a section of the city that is off-limits to most vehicle traffic. Unless you have a permit, you will be ticketed if you drive in a ZTL during restricted driving hours. Along the way, be sure to maintain the speed limit, as there are many speed cameras. In addition, the A1 is equipped with the TUTOR average speed camera system, which will automatically send you a ticket if you drive too fast.
Although some travelers complain that the A1 is a boring route, there are many wonderful places to stop between Florence and Maiori. Orvieto, with its awe-inspiring cathedral, Saint Patrick's Well, and delightful Old Quarter, is a perfect place to break up your journey. Park below the tufa cliffs and take a funicular, bus or taxi up to this unique city.
If you visit the Royal Palace of Caserta on your way to Maiori, you may recognize its marble halls and staircases. This palace, the largest in the world, has appeared in many films, including Star Wars: Episodes I and II, Mission Impossible III, and Angels and Demons. This neoclassical marvel is located in the heart of Caserta, just off the A1.
Military history buffs might prefer a stop at Montecassino Abbey, which was bombed in World War II and then completely rebuilt. The Polish War Cemetery and the Commonwealth War Cemetery are nearby. Saint Benedict, the abbey's founder, and his twin, Saint Scholastica, are buried at Montecassino Abbey. Getting from the A1 to the abbey is easy; there are many signs to point the way and the abbey is about eight miles from the A1.