Why: From mid-September the crowds disperse, the traffic thins, and rooms in sought-after hotels become available

Plus: Hotel room rates fall in October

The rocky beauty of this stretch of coast, about 40km from Naples airport, is breathtaking. Craggy cliffs drop straight down to an azure sea; villages in tones of ochre and pink cling improbably to the slopes; the amazing corniche, a road of a thousand bends, twists past pines and palms offering sparkling, heart-stopping views. Mid-September to mid-October is a window of opportunity after the frenetic bustle of Italy’s summer-holiday period and before much of the infrastructure shuts down for the season: the hotels have vacancies, and room rates fall. At the famous Le Sirenuse) in picturesque Positano, for example, doubles cost from €500 in September and from €380 after 1 October. Other options are the glamorous Hotel Il San Pietro (doubles from €550 Sept, €420 Oct), also in Positano, with its wonderful terraces on the cliffside, and Hotel Santa Caterina (; doubles from €405 Sept, €335 Oct), a gracious mansion outside the town of Amalfi with lifts running down to a bathing area and salt-water swimming pool.