Many years ago I lived in a small village on the Amalfi Coast. I visited most of the other towns along this fabulous coast, but didn’t get as far south as Amalfi.
On the way back from Sicily earlier this year, I finally got to see this shining jewel at the foot of Monte Cerreto. Like the other coastal towns, Amalfi clings to the edge of the sea. In the 1920s and 1930s it became the place to be for the British upper class and aristocracy.
Now, it seems, Amalfi is popular with everyone. The town was crowded with eager tourists when we were there at the beginning of May.
Arriving by sea is an excellent way to get a great view of the town.
The entrance to the town from the water’s edge is via an old portal.
Piazza Duomo, the heart of the town, soon appears, with the magnificent cathedral of Sant’Andrea looking on from above. Between the 9th and 11th centuries Amalfi was the seat of a powerful maritime republic. The Arab/Norman cathedral with its striped Byzantine facade survives from this era.
The front door of the church is most impressive.
The interior is very elaborate.
Behind the church is the lovely Chiostro del Paradiso, Cloister of Paradise. It was built between 1266 and 1268 by Filippo Augustariccio and was used as a burial ground for noble families of Amalfi. The white columns and pointed arches reflect Arab influence. It is absolutely beautiful, with frescoes and views of the campanile.
The view from the church over the piazza is excellent.
We wandered down to explore the town. There is an interesting fountain in the square.
The main street is long and narrow.
The Amalfi Coast is famous for its huge lemons…and Limoncello, the delicious lemon liqueur. It is on sale in bottles of all shapes and sizes in shops all over town…along with lemons.
Shops are also full of beautiful ceramics and colourful beach clothes.
There is a very strange, and not particularly attractive, fountain in the street. It is called De Cape ‘e Ciucci, and refers to an old custom when donkeys (ciucci) came down from a village above laden with fruit, vegetables and wood to drink at the fountain.
Since 1974 the fountain has been a centre point for a nativity scene made from limestone and tufa.
We had a delicious lunch at a very busy restaurant, Locanda del Marinaio. Our friendly waiters were delighted when I told them used to live nearby and declared me an honorary local.
The weather was a bit patchy, with clouds and occasional sun. It began to rain just as we left, but it didn’t matter. I absolutely love the Amalfi Coast, all of it. I love the colour, the food, the shops, the people, the sea…everything. I can’t wait to return.