“The sight of this nature affects even the dormant imagination of modern travelers.”
On the shores of the Gulf of Salerno lies the unique city of Amalfi – the capital of the medieval maritime republic, the seat of the archbishop and the heart of the Amalfi Coast – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is an amazing city with unusual landscapes, location and centuries-old history. So, location. The views of Amalfi are reminiscent of romantic landscapes descended from ancient paintings. The city is located on the slope of a high hill, descending in terraces to the turquoise surface of the sea. Therefore, the houses are connected to each other by narrow streets, passages, stairs and bridges, and around the houses and even on their roofs there are gardens with lush greenery, bright colors of fragrant flowers and fragrant olive and citrus trees, among which are lemon trees, which are a kind of symbol cities.
The history of the city goes back to the 4th century, when Amalfi, according to legend, was founded by Constantine the Great. Very quickly, Amalfi turned into a developed and rich maritime republic, and starting from the 9th century, the powerful family of the Dukes of Amalfi ruled the city. Until 1570, the maritime law of Amalfi dominated in Italy. The city has changed many rulers in its history. Today Amalfi is a prestigious resort, with a unique enchanting nature and a special atmosphere inspired by ancient history and the romance of sea travel. The city has many attractions, the main of which is the grandiose Cathedral of St. Andrew (Cattedrale di Sant’Andrea / Duomo di Amalfi), towering on the central cathedral square of the city. The cathedral was built in the 9th century in the Arab-Norman architectural style, but subsequently rebuilt many times, and therefore in its appearance there are elements of romanticism, baroque, gothic and Byzantine style. The relics of St. Andrew the First-Called have been kept under the altar of the cathedral since 1208. Near the cathedral is Chiostro del Paradiso – a magnificent building of the 13th century, the tomb of the Amalfi family, to which a long staircase leads, and even higher, on a rock, there is a Capuchin monastery built in 1212. Among the famous museums of the city is the Museum of Paper ( Museo della Carta), representing products made from a unique thin paper – bambagina, the production of which is famous for Amalfi. Business cards, wedding invitations are made from paper, and it is highly valued among artists. Near the cathedral is Chiostro del Paradiso – a magnificent building of the 13th century, the tomb of the Amalfi family, to which a long staircase leads, and even higher, on a rock, there is a Capuchin monastery built in 1212. Among the famous museums of the city is the Museum of Paper ( Museo della Carta), representing products made from a unique thin paper – bambagina, the production of which is famous for Amalfi. Business cards, wedding invitations are made from paper, and it is highly valued among artists.
Cozy comfortable hotels, many cafes and restaurants offering Italian dishes and seafood dishes, clear waters of the Gulf of Salerno, air filled with the aromas of the sea and citrus orchards, and a serene atmosphere attract vacationers from all over the world to Amalfi. And once every four years, a sailing regatta takes place in the port of Amalfi, which is a stunning spectacle in medieval style.
“In these incomprehensible landscapes, only the sea is horizontal, everything else is vertical.”
Astolf de Custi
The famous French writer and traveler was right. The landscapes of Positano are truly incomprehensible. This is a real city of artists and poets, located on the sea cliffs. Cozy houses are built almost close to each other and are surrounded by lush greenery. Positano, according to legend, was founded by the god of the sea, Poseidon, who was in love with a nymph named Pasiteia. However, according to historical facts, Positano dates back to the 16th-17th centuries, and until the beginning of the 20th century, the town was a poor fishing village, and in the middle of the 19th century, half of its population emigrated, and the place was almost empty. It was only in the 1950s that Positano began to gain popularity as a prestigious seaside resort, especially after the famous writer John Steinbeck wrote an essay about this wonderful town. Since then, Positano has become a favorite vacation spot for many celebrities – Picasso, Stravinsky, Nureyev, Diaghilev, Zeffirelli and the Rolling Stones have been here. Positano hosts an annual Animated Film Festival, and several movies and novels have been set in its stunning scenery. On the main square of Positano is the wonderful church of the Holy Virgin Mary Assunta (Santa Maria Assunta), built here in the first millennium. The dome of the temple is decorated with a mosaic of multi-colored majolica, and inside the church there is a unique icon of the Madonna of the 13th century, which is considered the patroness of the city and with which an amazing legend is associated. The icon was allegedly stolen in Byzantium by pirates who decided to transport it across the sea. Suddenly a terrible storm arose, the pirate ship began to sink opposite the shore of the fishing village, and the terrified sailors heard a voice saying “Posa!” (Drop it!). The icon was thrown into the sea, and the storm stopped. Every year on August 15, a feast dedicated to this icon takes place in Positano.
Today, Positano is considered a VIP resort, but the extraordinary spirit of romance and tranquility has been preserved in the town. As John Steinbeck wrote: “Positano makes a lasting impression. This is a dream city that seems unreal until you find yourself in it, and the absolute reality of which is nostalgically felt when parting with it.