Q –  We are headed to Italy this summer and have every aspect of our trip planned with the exception of four nights along the Amalfi Coast. From reading the information on traveltruth and speaking with friends who have been there, it sounds as though we need to be in Positano. But the hotels that everyone recommends, Le Siranuse and San Pietro are coming in at about $800 per night and up in June. We were thinking more like half of that. We like nice things and we also like nice values. Is Positano right for us (first-time in Italy) and is there any hotel you might recommend that borders on wonderfulness at a much more favorable price?

A – We think that Poistano, though packed with day-trippers during June through October, is still the right place to stay. Its hillside charms and stunning harbor views more than make up for any inconveniences. The place you should try first is Buca di Bacco. It is family-owned, has a great restaurant, it is just a few moments from the beach and it offers prices for many of its 53 rooms that begin under $400 per night. But do remember that Italy has 18% VAT plus some local taxes and food is expensive. A very close second is the Hotel Poseidon with 48 rooms and a staff that seems to enjoy serving guests. The pool setting and the views couldn’t be better and you are, again, looking at rates that oiught to come in under $500 USD.

We should add that many visitors to Italy this coming summer will be surprised at prices that approach $1,000 USD per night at most of the five-star properties along the Amalfi Coast, in Venice, Florence, and in Rome. It is a matter of the weak dollar, a very high level of VAT taxes, and demand far exceeding availability.