South Coast of Salerno,
Lago Trasimeno street
Salerno - Italy
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However , the Amalfi people re-organised their ranks attacked and successfully sacked Salerno the following summer , freeing their fellow townsmen who had been taken prisoner by the Lombards . On 1st September
839 Amalfi declared its independence and later established itself as an autonomous and sovereign Republic.
In actual fact , the war between the Byzantines and the Lombards from Benevento and Salerno led to their mutual annihilation , and it was from these spent ashes that a newer and politically stronger Amalfi was born
Initially, the city was administered by annually elected comites ( counts) then by prefects and lastly by duces ( dukes) . The territory it governed stretched not only along the coastline between Cetara and Positano , including the Li Galli island and Capri , but also inland , including the town of Scala , Tramonti , Agerola , Lettere , Pimonte and Gragnano . These were connected to each other by a carefully designed belt of fortified lookouts in the mountain passes and the slopes along the coast .
From the 8th century onwards , sea trade was Amalfi ‘s the main resource , and its citizens traded throughout the Mediterranean area with the Byzantines and with Arabs of northern Africa . Thus the Amalfi merchants were able to set up true and proper colonies characterised by warehouse , monasteries , shops , neighbourhoods and hospitals which did not come under the jurisdiction of the local authorities . In northern Africa this allowed the merchants to exchange their wood for gold which was then used as a bartering tool along the Syrian – Palestinian coast to obtain precious stones and valuable textiles that eventually found their way to the Italian markets .
In this climate of efficiency and organisation the Amalfi people were the first to draw up a maritime code , the Tabula de Amalpha , alegal work of great value not just in mediaeval times but also in the modern age.
However , under domination by the Normans ( 1131) and later the Swabians Amalfi saw its own needs subordinated to the greater needs of the kingdom , whose rules increasingly sacrificed Amalfi ‘s commercial interests in the Middle East allowing Venice to successfully extend its dominion to include this highly sought –after market .
The devastating raids by the Pisans in 1135 and 1137 drastically reduced the range of action of the Amalfi navy and only left it with the southern Italian
Market . Despite this , the aristocracy of this ex- duchy knew how to maintain its position in administration of the Kingdom and many families from Scala and Ravello successfully obtained important posts . The local church also enjoyed a wide range of privileges and international prestige.
During this period the Amalfi people fell back on their own resources and set about refurbishing the urban layout and architecture of the city and its surrounding villages. Between the late 12th century and the early 13th century they introduced the use of a magnetic needle into navigation and perfectedits technical characteristics. They also began manufacturing paper on an industrial scale by employing techniques and methods imported from the Arab world . In 2174, Judge Giovanni Augustariccio drew up in writing an important body of civil laws entitled Consuetudines Civitatis Amalfie.
With the arrival of the Angevins , the new lords of southern Italy , the economy of Amalfi was subjected to even greater ruin.
The outbreak of the twenty-year war of the Sicilian Vespri (1282) in which the Aragonese fought the Angevins for the domination of the Kingdom of Southern Italy , irreversibly worsened conditions in Amalfi . Not only did the Angevins impose a sea blockade on the city , but they also confiscated
its fleet of ships which was to be sent to Sicily . Fierce competition with the Catalan merchants in the lower.
tyrhenian sea coupled with the terrible episodes of pestilence in 1306 and 1348 and a disastrous sea-storm in 1343 proved the final straw.
And so this glorious maritime republic fell from glory. It was then granted as a fief to a succession of noble families from 1392 right up to 1583 : first to Venceslavo Sanseverino , then the Colonna and Orsini families and lastly to the Piccolomini family, whose male born children succeeded each other as Dukes of Amalfi .
During the 17th and 18th centuries the city and its surrounding towns and villages were subject to radical urban restructuring which imposed the new
baroque style , not always successfully , on the much older Romantic structures. Under French dominion in the early 19th century the Coast was initially governed by Giuseppe Bonaparte and then from September 1808 onwards by Gioacchino Murat . With the advent of Romanticism , Amalfi and the neighbouring areas were re-discovered by numerous foreign visitors travelling through Italy in search of exoticism and artistic inspiration . This saw the beginning of tourism , which was to become the driving force behind the economic and social development in the years to come.
At the seafront, opposite the Amalfi pier and adjacent to the bus terminus is a square with a monument to Flavio Gioia . This legendary figure , after whom the piazza is named , is also said to have invented the compass , according to 15th century tradition. In bygone years this square was used for unloading and ordering overseas goods. To the north we come to the ancient dockyards ( Arsenali) where shipwrights once built and stored boats , and alongside stands the Porto della Marina (Ship quay gate) , one of the central gateways to the city . On the other side of the gate was once the Platea Calzulariorum ( Piazza dei Calzolai – Shoemakers Square )and to the west , the Platea Nova or the modern day Piazza Duomo ( Cathedral Square ) built in the mid -14th century on the top of the river Canneto . In the southern part of the square stands the Fontana di S. Andrea Apostolo o del Popolo
( Fountain of St Andrew the Apostle or of the People ) built in 1760 and originally located at the foot of the Cathedral steps . Its was transferred to its modern – day position towards the end of the last century.
Behinds it stands a building which in the late Middle Ages was the seggio dei nobili (seat of the noblemen ) as well as the residence of the court of the protontino , the chief commander of the Amalfi navy . A copy of the Tabula de Amalpha was kept here . Some years later , in 1583, the building became the residence of the Spanish Governor Viceroy .
The St Andrew race
All the Amalfi coast is beautiful , but Amalfi is unquestionable its Queen.
And also the most important saint , the joint patron saint of all the Coast St. Andrew , the fisherman saint and the protector of seamen , belongs to Amalfi
He has been buried in the Cathedral since 1208 and if celebrations in his honour are held not only on November 30th but also on June 27th , it is because Amalfi wants to commemorate the defeat of the ferocious corsair chief Ariademo , better know as Barbarossa ( 1544) , and the outstanding victory over the Moslem fleet , undertakings in which the saint played a major role ; there is an Amalfi family who still jealously guards , passed down from one generation to the next , a fragment of the corsair flagship captured on that memorable occasion .
Music , song , guitar-music from the boats at sea , illuminations on the hills, in the sky and on the beach are all part of the merriest religious procession in the world. The white –robed members of a brotherhood carry the saint’s statue down to the sea in a slow , staid procession , on the beach the fishermen take over and shoulder with enthusiasm their big , silver saint . They then carry him all the way back at a pace which gets brisker and brisker, ending with a race up the steep, lofty staircase that takes the saint back into the cathedral . After the race , the saint stands at rest in the middle of the square , shining brightly in the sunlight , but the fishermen still have a task to perform : in the past , at this point , they used to lay down at the foot of the statue baskets full of fishes as a token of gratitude for the abundant haul ; today , perhaps because they have become more cost –conscious , or maybe, more mechanized , they hang small symbolic silver or wooden fishes on the left wrist of their saint …
The Amalfi Table ( Tabula de Amalpha )
The Table constitutes one of the oldest documents of navigation law which , from the 11th to 17th century , was a flawless legal reference work for the sailor and merchants who earned their living from the sea . It consist of 66 articles or chapters , the oldest of which – approximately 23 in number – are in Latin , while the most recent are Italian . The table clearly conveys the complexity of the relationships between the ship owners and merchants , crews and public instructions . it was essentially the agreement or , to use the Latin term , societas maris , draws up between ship owners and crew , regulating the services to be performed . This not only provided for proportional profit sharing but also guaranteed social security benefits for crew members injured at work .
Furthermore , when a ship was at the mercy of a sea storm , the decision whether or not to throw overboard all or part of its cargo depended on the crew’s vote . Lastly , on board each ship were a scribe and a consul whose task it was to arbitrate whenever disputes arose.
Around the middle of the 11th century the inhabitants of Amalfi , wanting a new cathedral , decided to add a new church to the existing Church of Assumption ) , joining them with a colonnade and creating a single
is a health and seaside resort laid out at different levels at the top of a cliff on the Amalfi coast, at the end if the Mulini valley. It was founded by the Romans, was a trading centre in the sixth century, and in 839 AD, became the first Italian maritime republic. It waged war with Genoa and Pisa for centuries for mastery of the Tyrrhenian Sea and was at the peak of its splendour around 1000. Iit was sacked and destroyed by the Pisans in 1135 and this marked the beginning of its decline. It passed thereafter into the power of various feudal lordships and eventually became part of the kingdom of Naples whose fate it followed.
The bell tower was built between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The thirteenth century “Paradise” cloisters, surrounded by an elegant portico with pointed, interwoven arches and supporting columns, was built by Archbishop Filippo Augustariccio as a sepulchre for illustrious people of the town. You can also visit the arsenal of the Republic which is a grandiose Gothic construction, the Cappuccini Hotel which was a thirteenth century convent with cloisters and a loggia, the Civic Museum containing the Tabula Amalphitana which is the oldest navigational manual in the world, and the map museum.
By train: Vietri sul Mare Station, 19 km
By car: A 3 motorway, exit at Vietri toll booths (20 km)
By ferry: from Salerno (the port is located at 20 minutes by bus from the Hotel Olimpico)
The Archdiocese of Amalfi, directly dependent on the Holy See, has its seat at Amalfi, not far from Naples. This was a populous city between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. An independent republic from the seventh century until 1075, it rivalled Pisa and Genoa in its domestic prosperity and maritime importance. A prey to the Normans who encamped in the south of Italy, it became one of their principal posts. The Emperor Lothair, fighting in favour of Pope Innocent II against King Roger of Sicily, who sided with the Antipope Anacletus, took him prisoner in 1133, assisted by forty-six Pisan ships. The city was sacked, and Lothair claimed as part of the booty a copy of the Pandects of Justinian which was found there. But the early beginnings of Amalfi are very obscure; it is not known when it was founded, or when Christianity reached it. That it was early is a reasonable conjecture, considering the facilities for communication with the East which the South of Italy possessed. The first positive indication that Amalfi was a Christian community, however, is supplied by Gregory the Great, who, writing in January, 596, to the Subdeacon Antemius, his legate and administrator in Campania, ordered him to constrain within a monastery Primenus, Bishop of Amalfi, because he did not remain in his diocese, but roamed about (Reg., V, xiv; cf. Jaffé, RR.PP., 1403). Amalfi was founded by Primenus in A.D. 596; the regular list of bishops began in 829; it was raised to an archbishopric by John XV in 987. In 1206, after the completion of the cathedral of St. Andrew, the body of the Apostle of that name, patron of Amalfi, was brought there from Constantinople by Pietro, cardinal of Capua, an Amalfian. There are about 36,000 inhabitants, 54 parishes, and 279 secular priests. Amalfi occupied a high position in medieval architecture; its cathedral of Sant' Andrea, of the eleventh century, the campanile, the convent of the Capuccini, founded by Cardinal Capuanor, richly represent the artistic movement prevailing in Southern Italy at the time of the Normans, with its tendency to blend the Byzantine style with the forms and sharp lines of the northern architecture.
In medieval culture Amalfi vindicated a worthy place for herself, especially by flourishing schools of law and mathematics. Flavio Gioia, who made the first mariner's compasses known to Europe, is said to be a native of Amalfi. But Gioia was not the inventor of the compass, which was invented in the East and brought to Europe by the Arabs. In honour of Charles II, a Capetian king then ruling Naples, Gioia put a fleur-de-lis instead of an N, to indicate the north.
When you come to Amalfi, the panorama is wonderful. White houses clinged on the rocks are opposed to the big Saint Andrew Church, located in the middle of the town. Amalfi is full of steps and to arrive to the Cattedrale di S.Andrea there is a long way with 57 steps. On the right side of the Cathedral, we find the church tower(XII century) while above we discover the chiostro del Paradiso and the chiesa del Crocifisso. Here the visitor can discover the historical religious past of the Amalfi Church.
Every street hides a square, where in the past people used to sell his merchandise. Through one of this street we discover Piazza dei Dogi, still called Piazza dei Ferrari, because there were smith’s shop. From here, other streets go everywhere; one of these takes us to the sea, where we find the entrance of the Antichi Arsenali. Another street takes us to the Vagliendola quarter, with its tower houses. This street gets to the Hotel dei Cappuccini. It was a monastry called San Pietro della Canonica and founded in the XIII century. From Piazza dei Dogi we get to Piazza dello Spirito Santo. It was the last square inside the wall of Amalfi, but the city isn't just here. Through the northern gate we go in the Valle dei Mulini. Here, we find the Museo della Carta, with its old machines, called “ingegni”, to produce paper. Beyond we discover the last paper mill, belonged to Amatruda family, that still produce the old paper. Near the "Cartiera Amatruda", there is the Museo dell'Agricoltura, where we can see rudimental machines and various instruments of the last four centuries. With these intruments, for century the amalphitain farmer produced the famous lemon called “sfusato amalfitano ”. Who wants a little adventure there is the Valle delle Ferriere, where you’ll find a natural Reserve (where there are some ferns as the Woodwardia Radicans). Long the way, you'll find many paper mills ruins. Coming back to the seaside, you can discover many old buildings. There is the monastry of "S.Benedetto", today place of the Amalfi’s Municipality and the place of the Museo Civico. In this museum, we'll find the “Tabula de Amalpha” and the Foscariniano Code and some nautical instruments.
Amalfi, originally Roman, was the first Sea Republic of Italy. After the fall of the Roman Empire, it was the first city to re-establish relationships between East and West by transporting and introducing into Italy exotic merchandise such as carpets, coffee and paper. Amalfi had its own coin (the Tarì), was the home of Flavio Gioia, the inventor of the compass and gave the navigators the famous maritime law known as "Tabula de Amalpha". Amalfi founded an imposing hospital in Jerusalem which could contain 2000 beds and which gave birth, in 1112, thanks to Brother Gerardo Sasso from Scala, to the first military and religious Order called at first the Knights of St.John, then the Knights of Cyprus, of Rhodes and, in 1530, of Malta, still existing today. The Knights fought repeatedly against the Saracens and, in 849, they defended Rome and the Church in the famous battle of Ostia. Amalfi is a quiet and pictoresque seaside resort with a temperate climate and incomparable natural beauties. It has some of the holdest hotels in Italy as well as many modern ones. TO VISIT: The Duomo built about the 6th century and dedicated to St Andrew the Apostle whose remains are kept in the crypt Its present facade, brilliant with mosaics, is in Oriental style; its bronze doors, the first ones to appear in Italy, were given to Amalfi by Pantaleone di Mauro Comite, a noble man from Amalfi who melted them in the 11th century in Constantinople where he lived and led the Imperial Party. The Cloister of Paradise set beside the Duomo was built the 13th century in Arabian style. lt holds ancient sarcophagi, marble sculptures and mosaics. The Ancient Armouries of the Amalfi Republic, dating back to the 9th century, witness a glorious maritime past The Salone Morelli where you can admire the 14 paintings by Domenico Morelli, reproduced in mosaic on the fronton of the Duomo; some paintings and sketches by the Amalfitan painter Pietro Scoppetta and the artistic pluteus holding the only existing specimen of the "Tabula de Amalpha", the costumes for the Regattas.Occupying the southern side of the Sorrento peninsula, the Amalfi coast lays claim to be Italy is most beautiful stretch of coast. Don't miss its corniche road winding around the towering cliffs an incredible ride. The most famous location along this coastline is possibly Positano with its pyramid high above the water, that has inspired a thousand picture postcards. But for food and accommodation we do recommend the more unexpensive and bigger town of Amalfi, an established seaside resort since Edwardian times, when the British upper class spent their winters here.
Once an independant republic in Byzantine times, Amalfi was one of the four great naval powers (others were Genoa, Venice and Pisa) with a population of some seventy thousand. Vanquished by the Normans in 1131, it was devastated by an earthquake in 1343. A few remnants of its past glories survived suc has the Duomo. Today Amalfi survives as a fanciful and mollified town, attracting passive lingerers who stroll along the beautiful bayside promenades.It's enough just to say the word "coastline" and immediately the most celebrated stretch of the Mediterranean springs to mind. Leaving Vietri headed for Positano, you'll follow along a length of coastline as well preserved as any religious relic.
The only way to do it justice is to take the only coast road, opened in the mid-eighteenth century by the Bourbon King Ferdinand II's carriages. Now, as then, this roadway passes white villages, churches with majolica cupolas, sudden rocky protrusions and terraced groves swollen with lemons. Every curve reveals a fishing cove nestled in the rocks, a quick glimpse of blue or a Bouganvilla-draped villa worthy of Hollywood. La Costiera, immortalized in the gouaches of a thousand painters and the films of several dozen film directors, never fails to provoke strong emotions in habitués as well as those seeing it for the first time.
The Amalfi coastline lies between Positano and the starting point of our journey, Salerno, spread along a gulf busy with passenger and commercial ships. Rent a car or better yet, a motorcycle (it comes in handy on those narrow roads) and head north. How to get to the Amalfi Coast? Coming from the north (Napoli, for example), you'll leave the highway A3 at Vietri. From a southerly direction (Salerno for example), turn off into the state highway in the direction of Vietri.
AMALFI, THE GLORIOUS “REPUBBLICA MARINARA”
Amalfi is an internationally known tourist town thanks to its natural beauties and its mild climate. Its history, its landscapes, the sea, the monuments are a wonderful and unique cocktail.
SOME VALID REASONS IN ORDER TO PASS ONE VACATION TO AMALFI...
1. In the wonderful scenario of Amalfitana Coast, many tourists come in the elegant and nice hotels, residences and bed & breakfasts. Its history, the beauty of the landscape, the sea, monuments are a charming cocktail.
AMALFI COAST ATTRACTION
The Duomo - Piazza del Duomo. The cathedral is named after Sant'Andrea, who's remains are buried inside the crypt. It dates back to the 11th century, but since then was rebuilt. Its bronze doors were made in Constantinople and its bell tower is from the 13th century. The cathedral is characterized by its black and white facade and mosaics. This is a sight not to be missed.
RESTAURANTS of the Amalfi Coast
La Caravella - Amalfi - Via Matteo Camera 12. This restaurant is housed in an old stone building, that was a boatyard and marine warehouse in the 1400s. It is one of the best restaurants in town and is popular with locals and tourists alike. They serve a wide range of Italian dishes, such as spaghetti Caravella with seafood sauce; Scaloppini alla Caravella; and scialatielli.
BARS of the Amalfi Coast
L'Africana - Located near the centre of town, this is one of the best night clubs in Amalfi. It is popular with a mixed crowd of locals and tourists. They play a range of music from dance to pop, you dance and have a great time. This is a good place to go and start sampling the night life on offer in Amalfi.
Spiaggia Fornillo - This is the best beach in Amalfi and is very popular in summer with people from Italy and all over the world. The soft sandy beaches of Amalfi Coast are a perfect place to relax and catch a tan, or go for a swim and take a boat ride. There are some cafes and restaurants near the beach, so you can go and grab a bite to eat or have drink.
Amalfi, the heart of the Amalfi Coast, Hotel Olimpico located at few km from the Amalfi Coast.