Amalfi, in the Province of Salerno, is one of the gems of Southern Italy. It is both the largest city on the Amalfi Coast and, together with Positano village, the most visited.
Characterized by unique white houses and small artisan shops, it is hits by millions of tourist from around the world, thanks also to its mild weather.
The town, which gives the name to the eponymous coast (the Amalfi coast), is home to about seven thousand residents. Renowned for its art and history and food, Amalfi is has been included among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1997.
Its foundation dates back to the Romans. Starting from the IX century, first among the maritime republics, Amalfi competed with Pisa, Venice, and Genoa for the control of the Mediterranean Sea.
What to do and see in Amalfi
There is no time for boredom in Amalfi. There are countless activities and architectural sites to see and explore, starting with the stunning Cathedral of Amalfi built in Arab-sicialian style and dedicated to Saint Andrew, the city patron.
You can go hiking on a multitude of trails, take a boat and see the Costline from the sea, explore the Paper Museum or the paper mills, and try something you every day.
Moreover, you can visit the Paradise Cloister or the natural reserve of Vallone Delle Ferriere.
How to reach Amalfi
Amalfi is located in the center of the Amalfi Coast. You can reach it easily from both Salerno and Sorrento. If you arrive from Salerno you can take the Super Strada (SS) 163 and arrive within forty minutes with no traffic.
If you prefer public transportation, I suggest you check the SITA bus line that will take you to Amalfi in about fifty minutes.
From April through October, you can also take the ferry, located in Concordia Square, from Salerno and avoid the summer traffic on the streets.
The Amalfi Cathedral
The Cathedral is a 9th century Roman Catholic Church, predominantly of Arab-Norman Romanesque architectural style, dedicated to Saint Andrew. During the years there were some renovations that added Byzantine, Gothic, and Baroque elements.
Included in the Cathedral are the 9th century Basilica of the Crucifix and the Crypt of Saint Andrew.
The Cathedral Throughout the years
The Cathedral that we see today was built next to an older basilica, and this one also built on the ruins of a previous temple when Amalfi was a strong commercial power.
The first big renovation began in 1203 with the addition of Arab-Norman shapes, an influence from the conquerors of that part of Italy during that period.
The subsequent renovation started in 1570 with yet another in 1861, following the strike of a strong gust of wind, which caused a part of the facade to fall down. After this episode, the restoration that followed removed most of the remnants of the Renaissance and Baroque styles. The last restoration was completed according to the style of the architect Lorenzo Casalbore.
The interior of the Cathedral, with the coffered ceiling, is distinguished by a central nave featuring a large wooden Crucifix from the XIII Century.
Above the altar you can see Andrea dell’Asta's painting The Martyrdom of Saint Andrew.
The triumphal arch is held up by two Egyptian columns. In the left nave, you can find the Mother of Pearl Cross (brought from the Holy Land by Monsignor Marini). Next to this, you can see the Baptistery in a red Egyptian porphyry.
On the side of the main nave you will see two small chapels where some paintings by Silvestro Mirra and his pupils are located.
In the right aisle there is the Bust Reliquary of S. Andrew of the XVI century and, on the door, a large canvas depicting Saint Andrew and Saint Matthew.
The body of S. Andrew lies inside the crypt. According to tradition, after the martyrdom of the saint, his relics were moved from Patras to Constantinople. They remained there until 1208, when, during the fourth crusade, they were brought to Amalfi by Cardinal Pietro Capuano, a native of the city.
In the Crypt you can admire beautiful scenes of the Passion of Jesus, nestled between rich and elegant plaster decorations.
The central altar in marble is the work of Domenico Fontana, whereas the large bronze statue is the work of Michelangelo Naccherino.
On the exterior of the Cathedral you can admire the tympanum's mosaics portray “The Triumph of Christ.” On one side is the splendid Romanesque bell tower, finished in 1276 and coated with majolica mosaic.
Sixty-two wide and steep steps lead up to the doors cast in Constantinople before 1066, and signed by Simeon of Syria.