HOTEL OLIMPICO: FAMILY HOTEL FEW STEPS FROM THE AMALFI COAST
Located between the Amalfi Coast and Cilento coast, the Hotel Olimpico is a 4-star hotel in Pontecagnano, near Salerno.
Located right on the seafront, the hotel is an exclusive destination for a relaxing holiday, exploring the beauties of the area. Indeed, the structure has a very favorable position because it is distant by crowding of the Amalfi Coast (which comes alive with tourists from all over the world during the summer season), and at the same time provides its customers with a shuttle service to reach all places of interest: Salerno downtown, Naples, the most picturesque locations in the Amalfi Coast, Capri, Pompeii, Paestum and Sorrento.
For those who want to spend quiet and relaxing days without moving from the hotel, the Hotel Olimpico has an outdoor swimming pool with Jacuzzi corner and private beach as well.
In short, a true oasis of calm away from the bustle of the town but closer to Salerno and Amalfi Coast. Ideal for families with children, the hotel is 10 minutes far from Salerno airport, making it easily accessible.
The Hotel Olimpico, recently renovated, is suitable for both families and business customers.
Among the many services offered: free high speed wifi, free shuttle to the station and for the ports, organizing tours and excursions, tennis court and children's play park facilities and a large tropical garden available for light candle dinners.
Inside the Hotel Olimpico is also possible to find the restaurant overlooking the garden and large outdoor terrace for the summertime, where you can taste all our typical dishes, prepared with genuine products and attention to detail.
We provide free shuttle service to and from Salerno. With our comfortable minibus, we’ll have you at Salerno’s center in just 10 minutes, where you can depart for Amalfi and the Amalfi Coast hotel, Positano or Capri, by ferryboat or hydrofoil; or for Pompeii, Herculaneum and Naples by train.
The minibus operates throughout the day and evening, so you can also enjoy downtown Salerno’s fantastic restaurants, bars and shopping.
It’s a great value if you want to save on car rentals and still be able to enjoy our fabulous region. And remember the shuttle service is FREE OF CHARGE!
Description of the Amalfi Coast, Italy
About two kilometres after the Lone junction you will reach Piazza Flavio Gioia, the centre of Amalfi. The car park is a little further on and once you have parked your car you walk along the sea front to the piazza. Go back up the street which follows the shoreline and when you get to the top take a rest in front of two large ceramic panels. The panel on the right is called Beauty Will Save the World, it’s the work of the Portuguese artist Manuel Calgaleiro. The one on the left is the panel of Diodoro Cossa. Created in 1968 this piece depicts the most outstanding moments in Amalfi’s history. Starting from the top and looking at it from left to right, you can see in succession: the Roman refugees who settled on the high grounds of the Scala in the 4th Century, following is the scene of the foundation of the city, then the building of the ships and the beginning of trade and, lastly, the legislative and diplomatic activities of the people of Amalfi within the Mediterranean area.
At the bottom of the panel the age of opulence is portrayed by the building of the cloister and the citizens’ halls, the transfer of the Apostle St. Andrea’s mortal remains from Constantinople in 1208, the decline, Amalfi’s inventions represented by Flavio Gioia’s compass, the production of hand-made paper and the cultivation of lemons. The story-board draws to a close with the traditional journey through the city of a newly-wed young couple in horse-and-carriage….
Amalfi’s origins are a mixture of history and legend. A tale tells that the city was founded by Hercules in the place chosen by Amalfi, the nymph with eyes the colour of the sea. Actually Amalfi was founded around the 4th Century by the survivors of a Roman expedition who were shipwrecked in the Adriatic on their way to Constantinople. After many wanderings they arrived firstly in Melfi and then on the Amalfi Coast where they founded Scala, then Amalfi, Atrani and Ravello. Faithful to Rome (in reality threatened by the Longobards in the land of the Saracens along the coast) Amalfi and the other settlements were subjected to the protector Bisanzio until, making the most of the war between the Byzantines and the Longobards of Capua (Benevento and Salerno), they proclaimed themselves autonomous and elected Amalfi as the capital.
An independent state from 839 to 1096, the (Maritime) Republic of Amalfi was united under “the silver shield with a red stripe”; it was an area which went from Gragnano to Chiunzi inland and from Cetara to Capri along the coast, all of the inhabitants of this area (apart from the people of Atrani) were recognized as “Amalfitans”. In this alliance each city had its own mercantile activity but, at the same time, they bore a precise roll at the service of the federation. Amalfi was the seat of the archbishopric and of the central government, supported first by comes, then by giudici, by prefetti (all elective charges) and lastly by a Duke, who transformed the Republic in an hereditary Dukedom.
In less than two Centuries Amalfi and its Dukedom became the greatest commercial and military power of the Tyrrhenian Sea, a cosmopolitan centre in which, according to Guglielmo of Puglia, towards the end of the 11th Century “…lived the best of the navigators of that era, and where merchants from every part of the known world arrived…”
Wherever their trading took them the Amalfitans founded colonies and embassies; in Alessandria in Egypt, Cairo, Cyprus, Ptolemaide, Beirut, in Byzantine a whole district, complete with church and cemetery; in Jerusalem an hospital with 1000 beds, run by the war-faring friars of San Giovanni, later known as the Sovran Military Order of the Cavaliers of Malta. In these regions the currency of the bronze or gold Amalfitan Tarì was used, the rules of the Tabulae Amalphitane were used for navigation, as well as the Chinese Compass and the Egyptian astrolabe, both introduced to the Western world by the Amalfitans. They went as far as to invent a style of construction: the “Amalfitan style” mixed elements of the Byzantine and Moorish culture of Sicily to the rigour of the Romanic. The churches of Ravello, the basilica of Sant’Eustachio in Pontone, the bell-tower of the Annunziata in Minori and the Amalfitan cloisters date back to this period. Towards the middle of the year 1000 A.D. the Norman Robert the Giuscardo invaded the South of Italy and subjected the Dukedom of Amalfi, which was stripped of its castles, most of its fleet and, with the deposition of Marino Sebaste in 1096, of its title of Dukedom. Successively the dispute between the Papacy and the Empire prepared the way for the Angioins, whose rule was revealed to be profitable for the
Amalfitans. In fact, in the course of 13th Century a series of public works and monuments were realised, the production of paper was introduced and also many innovations in the maritime, economic and judicial sectors. After the house of Angiò an alternation of various rulers began and the Dukedom of Amalfi, reduced to a feudal territory, was passed from one owner to another.
The title of “Duke of Amalfi” was alternated between the Sanseverino, the Del Balzo Orsini, the Colonna and the Piccolomini, until the 28th December 1583 when the coastal villages surrendered their autonomy and joined the Royal Demanio….
Who soon ended up under the Spanish dominion. The rest is the history of the Coast, although through the course of time Amalfi continued playing the role of “first lady” with respect to the other neighbouring localities….
The first work of art you come across is l’Apocalisse di San Giovanni (the Apocalypse of St. John) or rather the sketches used by Domenico Morelli in 1891 in order to realise the mosaics on the facade of the Cathedral. Along the walls are some paintings by Pietro Scoppetta (1864 – 1927), an Amalfitan artist from “the School of Posillipo” and a number of nautical instruments. At the other end of the room, enclosed within a large wooden showcase, it is possible to see a few examples of tarì, the antique coin of Amalfi and a copy of the Pandette by Giustiniano. The original, pillaged by the Pisans in 1135, is presently safe-guarded in a library in Florence, the Laurenziana. Another treasure guarded in the showcase is the very precious Codice Foscariniano, drawn up around the 17th Century and donated to the city of Amalfi by Benito Mussolini, who bought it in Vienna in 1929. The volume includes the Chronicon Amalfitanum, the Chronica omnium Archiepiscoporum Amalphitanorum, the Consuetudines Civitatis Amalfie, and, moreover, the Tabula de Amalpha, the first international maritime code; it contains 66 chapters and was written up by the people of Amalfi between the 11th and the 14th Centuries…..
Other particulars to be seen are the ancient city banner which portrays Amalfi as a “lady seated on a throne, dressed in lavish brocade” and, enclosed in glass cabinets, the costumes of the Ancient Marine Republic, these are shown off during the “Regatta of the Ancient Marine Republics”…..
Upon leaving the building go to the other side of the square, then turn left and follow the Supportico Sant’Andrea until you get to a little widening where you will find the entrance to the Centre of Amalfitan History and Culture.
Continue along the Supportico Sant’Andrea which comes out onto Via dei Prefetti. After the opening turn right and go up towards the Cathedral of Amalfi.
The visit begins at the Chiostro del Paradiso (Paradise Cloister). The cloister was built between 1266 and 1268 in perfect “Amalfitan style” on request of the Archbishop Filippo Augustariccio who invented it to be the cemetery for Amalfi’s nobility. Once inside proceed from left to right in order to see the Roman sarcophaguses, some mosaic covered altar pieces and the frescos in the side chapels. In the first chapel on the right –hand side is a Cristo Pantacreatore, in the next is a Crucifixion by one of Giotto’s students, Roberto d’Oderisio.
From the cloister you pass into the Basilica del Crocifisso. Built in the 9th Century on the ruins of a Palaeochristian temple, it was the first Cathedral of Amalfi and was restored in its original style in 1994.
The Cathedral’s treasure is guarded in safe receptacles, it is best to take time to visit the area in order to make the most of the embroidered pearls on the Angioini mitre dating back to 1297, the fine engravings on the golden-silver chalice which dates back to the first half of the 14th Century, an 18th Century Chinese litter, a collar belonging to the Toson d’Oro Order, the Napolitan style silverware and, lastly, the falca (or baluster) of a 15th Century Venetian Galleon. The vessel from which the fragment had been taken was part of the Saracen fleet that was commandeered by Kairen Din, also known as “Barbarossa” (Red beard) and attacked Amalfi on 27 June 1544. The fleet was utterly destroyed by a terrible storm which, according to legend, was unleashed by Sant’Andrea (St. Andrew) in order to defend the city……
Along the left hand side nave you can see two chapels which were part of the original Palaeochristian temple; they are frescoed with scenes of miracles, effigies of saints, the blessed Gerardo Sasso, founder of the Military Order of the Cavaliers of Malta. On the wall of the presbytery an altar piece depicting the Madonna on the throne is hung. On the first pillar of the nave on the right-hand side there is a lovely 16th Century Madonna with Child. The stairs to the right lead to the Crypt of Sant’Andrea Apostle.
On the altar is the statue of Sant’Andrea, sculpted by Michelangelo Naccherino, and also the statues of the Saints Stefano and Lorenzo, which are the work of Pietro Bernini, father and master of the more famous Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Behind the altar, low down, you can see a sort of silver pot which contains a piece of the skull of the Saint.
A profound devotion ties the people of Amalfi to Sant’Andrea and his holy remains; this is renewed each year, both on 27 June and 30 November, through solemn celebrations and the ”Miracle of the manna”. The manna, a mysterious whitish liquid with wonder-working, miraculous qualities, is contained in an ampoule within the urn; its first appearance was in 1304, on 29 November.
The abundance of the liquid has a propitiatory value for the people and little pieces of cotton impregnated in the sacred essence are given to them by the Bishop at the end of the solemn ceremony. On the wall to the right of the choir stalls is a fresco by Aniello Falcone which is a representation of the Cathedral prior to its modern renovation. The stairs to the left lead to the actual Cathedral.
Upon entering it is best to go straight to the central nave and to position yourself with your back to the main entrance so as to obtain a full panorama of the entire building. A 13th Century crucifix dominates the area for public worship; a canvas representing the Martyr of St. Andrew, painted by Andrea Dell’Asta (1715) is on the principal altar; the Altar of the Holy Communion is made with elements of the funeral monument of Pietro Capuano. Other things to be admired are: two pulpits, the caisson ceiling (1702) adorned with three great works of art once again by Dell’Asta, depicting the Flagellation of St. Andrew, his Crucifixion and the Miracle of the Manna.
At the end of the left-hand side nave you will find a mother-of-pearl cross hanging on the wall, it comes from the Holy Land. In the first chapel is a baptistery in Egyptian porphyry which was originally housed in the Basilica of San Vito in Positano, in the other chapels there are some canvases from the school of Silvestro Mirra. In the first chapel of the right-hand nave you will find a 15th Century marble bass-relief depicting the three saints Giovanni Evangelista, Benedetto and Giovanni Battista; following is the statue of the Dead Christ which is carried in procession on Holy Friday, then the silver bust of Sant’Andrea. The bronze doors bring your visit to the end; they were the earliest bronze doors to appear in Italy, made in Constantinople around 1060 by Simone di Siria and donated to the church of Amalfi by one of its rich merchants, Pantaleone Orso.
After returning to Via dei Prefetturi carry on up-hill until you reach the next little square where you will find the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, founded by the Amalfitan Duke Mansone I in 986. Next door is the church of Santa Maria Addolorata. Built around the end of the 18th Century it is home to a 16th Century statue of the Virgin with Child, and a late gothic bas-relief depicting the Crucifixion. The church is seat of the arch brotherhood that organizes the Vespers during the Holy Week and also the evocative “Corteo dei Battenti” which carries both the statue of the dead Christ and that of the Madonna Addolorata in procession.