One of the oldest Maritime Republics in Italy, Amalfi is a small urban centre which, according to legend, was founded by Hercules who buried his beloved Amalfi in the city, following the will of the Gods. According to historical records, however, Amalfi was founded by Romans during the time of Emperor Tiberius, when their ship, headed to Constantinople, was overtaken by a tempest and compelled them to settle where the city now stands. Just thirty kilometres from Sorrento, it is a perfect day trip for those staying at the Hotel Mediterraneo (the reception desk can provide all the information necessary to planning your visit).
UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, it is also known for its spectacular coves, some of which can only be reached by sea: from the principal marina, small shuttle boats depart for tiny hidden beaches, such as Santa Croce, which can also be reached by foot from the main road. The water in these small bays is crystal-clear and it is immensely peaceful, totally immersed in nature.
The Amalfi Coast, Conca dei Marini (beach), Ristorante Santa Croce | Photo: Elliott Brown, via Flickr
During the Middle Ages, Amalfi was a military and commercial powerhouse. In the Museo Civico, there is a paper copy of the maritime code Tabula de Amalpha, written between the XI and XIV Centuries. This version of the document dates to the 1600s and is of great historic value, demonstrating the importance of maritime society at the time. It was in Amalfi where the compass was invented, the navigational instrument which was then to be found around the entire Mediterranean by the XIII Century .
Not far from the main port is the Cathedral
or Duomo of Sant’Andrea Apostolo
, the church built in Arab-Sicilian style and dedicated to the patron saint of the city, with its steep stairway from which you can enjoy a stunning view of the sea and the streets of the city centre. The upper section of the facade of the cathedral is a triumph of colour: the spectacular mosaic in the Romanesque style was created between 1180 and 1276. Next to this, is the Fountain of Sant’Andrea
, Amalfi’s most important fountain, as well as the Chiostro del Paradiso
or the Cloister of Paradise
. Among the things to see, the Museo della Carta
or Paper Museum
is particularly interesting, allowing visitors to explore the history of the Amatruda paperworks, situated in the Valle dei Mulini, which has always produced the paper emblematic of Amalfi, known through the ages for its quality and its ivory hue The Duomo di Amalfi and The Fontana di Sant'Andrea | Photo: Berthold Werner, via Wikimedia Creative Commons
or Ironworks of Amalfi
, meanwhile, is one of the oldest such structures in Southern Italy. This factory from the XIV Century was dedicated to the extraction of iron from raw minerals and the production of steel.
Amalfi is a tiny gem of a town, stretched along the coast, with numerous main thoroughfares and tiny winding streets that make strolling among the artisan sandal shops and those selling traditional culinary treats like the Delizia al Limone
(a lemon desert) a truly unique experience. The lemon gelato from the Gelateria Porto Salvo
is also not to be missed. However, you might want to wait until after you’ve eaten the unforgettable zuppa di pesce at the Ristorante Da Gemma
near the Duomo or grab something to eat right on the seaside at unbelievably reasonable prices at Lido delle Sirene
or at Lido degli Artisti
.The renowned lemons of the Amalfi Coast | Photo: andreagen, via Pixabay
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