Monuments - Campania
Named the "Divine" and for its incomparable beauties, the Amalfi coast has been declared in 1997 by UNESCO World patrimony of Humanity.
From Positano to Salerno it is a continuous view of magnificent scenery overlooking the sea on the clear bay of Salerno.
AMALFI - ST. ANDREW CATHEDRAL
Instead of using the term Cathedral, it would be more correct to speak of a monumental complex, as it is made up of several autonomous parts that are colligated together.
Basilica of the Crucifix
The ancient Cathedral of Amalfi built in the IX century on the site of an earlier Paleo-Christian temple. Later adapted to the baroque style, it was returned to the original Romanesque Style in the restoration of 1994.
Therefore we can now admire the splendid open-side gallery decorated with twin and single arches, and the majestic columns of the original structure. On the left-hand side probably part of the primitive temple, two small chapels frescoed with scenes of the miracles and the effigies of Saints. In the centre the glass-cases containing part of the cathedral treasure: the delicate embroidery on the Angevin Mitre (1297) made of gold, gems and a “pave” of 19.000 pearls; the fine chiselling on the Chalice in silver-gilt with enamel, pearls and gems (XIV century); the Chinese Sedan of the XVIII century from Macao; the splendid Collar of the Order of the Tonson of Gold; the rare pieces of silver of the Neapolitan School; and the magnificent Falca (wooden part) of a Venetian Galley of the XV century, that was used by Saracen pirates to attack the city, tradition tells us that the pirates were ship-wrecked by a terrible storm invoked by St. Andrew, the Patron Saint, to protect the people of Amalfi. Towards the back, at the first column on the right an enchanting Fresco of the “Madonna with Child” of the XVI century.
The Crypt of St. Andrew, the first Apostle, who died at Patrasso in Greece embracing the cross, as his Master before him. Built in 1206, to hold the Sacred remains of St. Andrew, that arrived two years later, brought from Constantinople. The sacred relics are held in a silver urn under the central altar, work of Domenico Fontana. The people of Amalfi are devoted to St. Andrew for whom they hold solemn celebrations twice a year, the “Miracle of the Manna” occurs more frequently, and ampoule in the silver urn produces “The Manna” a mysterious liquid with miraculous properties, that appeared for the first time on the 29th of November 1304. The presence and the quantity of the liquid has a propitious value for the people of Amalfi who after the ceremony receive pieces of cotton wool dipped in the sacred Manna.
The Cathedral of St. Andrew
The wooden Crucifix of the XIII century dominates the liturgical area; above the altar: the painting of “The Martyrdom of St. Andrew” a work by Andrea Dell’Asta, disciple of Solimena (1715); two majestic Egyptian granite columns that sustain the triumphal arch; two twisted columns and two pulpits that were part of the ancient ambo of the Cathedral (XII century); and above the artistic boxed ceiling (1702) with at the centre the “Flagellation” and “Crucifixion of the Apostle”, and the “ Miracle of the Manna” also by Dell’Asta (1710). On the left we find: the delicate Mother of Pearl Cross brought from the Holy Land by Mons. Marini, the Baptistery in red Egyptian porphyry and in the lateral chapels paintings by Silvestro Mirra and his pupils. In one of the pillars we can find a hidden column, an example left to show the ancient Romanesque structure hidden under the marble and stucco Baroque. In the central nave the High Altar made from the sarcophagus of the Archbishop Pietro Capuano who died in 1359 A.D. and the eagle on the lectern of the same provenance. On the right hand nave the bust of St. Andrew of the XVI century. Beside the door a large painting of St.Andrew and St.Mathew who saved Amalfi menaced by the terrible pirate Kairen-Din “Red-Beard”; every year on the 27th of June the people of Amalfi remember the event with a grand festivity in honour of their Patron Saint. Close the Cathedral the Bronze Doors, the first to appear in Italy, a gift of a patrician of Amalfi, who had them made in Constantinople in about 1060. The magnificent façade, it was built in 1891 after the ancient frontal collapsed; the spectacular mosaics on the tympanum represent “The triumph of Christ”, a work by Domenico Morelli, the original designs of which are kept in the Town Hall.
Opening from 09.00 to 11.30 and from 16.30 to 19.00
MUSEO DELLA CARTA
On the borders of the Valle delle Ferriere stands the Amalfi Coast’s Paper Mill Museum. It stands as testimony to a time long gone, when papermaking was a closely guarded secret, and the method of producing those blank sheets so painstaking and tedious that it was considered as much an art as the words and illustrations that later be written on them.
The Amalfi Paper Mill and Museum houses various antique equipment and machinery. There are old wooden mallets, that would pound the materials into a pulp. There is a hydraulic wheel, that would propel the mallets. There is the Hollander, which was first brought into the Mill in 1745, and the press that would squeeze away as much of the water residue as possible from the sheets of pulp.
In the adjacent room, there is a very extensive exhibit on the history of papermaking, a library with all the historical documents related to its development, and an explanation of the paper making technique.
Visitors can arrange for a tour of the Amalfi Paper Mill and Museum, accompanied by the guides fluent in English, Italian, German and French. The tour includes a step-by-step walkthrough of the papermaking process, as demonstrated by the machines. All the antique papermaking equipment have been restored to working order; in fact, at the end of the tour, you will see, if not written proof, a blank sheet — made in the Mill itself — on which to document it.
The paper of Amalfi that is also called “bambagina” is a very thick type of paper, elegant to look at and pleasant to the touch, it is used for precious books, or as letter paper, also for degrees or for invitations and business cards.
ANCIENT ARSENAL OF THE REPUBLIC OF AMALFI
The unique example of a naval arsenal in the South of Italy, the actual eleven arches are those remaining of the original twenty that opened directly to the sea. On the inside you can see some medieval statues and architectural elements and the large Amalfi Galleon that is used in the famous Regatta
THE EMERALD GROTTO - AMALFI
The inside is like an oriental temple, filled with columns, stalactites and bizarre shaped curtains, that popular fantasy gives curious names and likeness. There are mermaids and fantastic animals, famous people: e.g. Garibaldi on his horse, who becomes George Washington for the Americans and Napoleon for the French….
In this enchanting cavern the typical elements of an inland grotto exist side by side with those of a marine grotto. This is because once the grotto was above sea level and the slow dripping created stalactites and stalagmites of various dimensions; later about 6000 years ago the higher temperature of the earth and the phenomenon of slow subsidence caused the sea level to rise thus submerging the coast, the Tyrrhene invaded part of the grotto giving us the marvellous ambient we find today, it is created mainly by an aperture towards the sea at about 4 metres under the sea level…
The Emerald Grotto was discovered in 1932 by a local fisherman who was curious about two strange holes in the rock face: he proudly wore the band that declared him “The discoverer of the Emerald Grotto”, until his death…
Before leaving please do not miss an interesting feature, the under water “crib scene” made of pottery from Vietri, every year at Christmas a large group of divers from all over Italy come to pay homage in a very moving procession.
You can go to Esmerald Grotto:
By boat, from Amalfi bear, from 9.30 a.m. to 4.0 p.m.,
By private boat. Here We can stop the boat on bearth.
By car, at km 26.4 of 163 Railway, entry by panoramic steps or lifts
POSITANO - CHURCH OF S. MARIA ASSUNTA
Church of S. Maria Assunta (X c., restructured in theXVIII c.), it has abeautiful large cupola majolicated with mosaics. Under its surface lies a medieval church and below this lie the remains of a Roman villa. The Collegiate had a Byzantine floor, of which some traces can be found in the apse, and on the main altar there is a Byzantine artefact, the miraculous oriental icon of the Black Madonna with Child (XIIIc.), a panel in cedar wood which is believed tohave arrived here by sea. Inside: in the transept, Circoncisione (Circumcision) by Fabrizio Santafede (XVI c.); in the apse, two niches with Maria Addolorata and a Christ (1798), a Cristo sulla croce (Christ on the Cross) (XVI c.); there liquary of San Vito (1506), an extraordinary example of the Neapolitan goldsmith’s art. The lower half of the bell tower is decorated with abas-relief (XIII c.) depicting fabulous and monstrous animals.
open daily from 8.00-19.00, closes briefly at lunch time;
RAVELLO - VILLA RUFOLO
Villa Rufolo (XIII c.). Built on a pre-existing Roman structure, in the shadow of an imposing 30m high entrance tower, the splendid villa on three floors shows eastern influences. The centre of the building includes a chapel with barrel vaults and a large dining hall, divided by massive columns; the Moorish cloister is memorable, a fascinating architectural jewel enclosed by a portico in the Arabian style with pointed arches supporting a double tier of loggias. The charm of this earthly paradise is at its zenith in the celebrated garden beloved by Wagner. Every year the Wagnerian Festival is celebrated here, on this terrace that hangs above the sea.
Opening Hours: summer 9.00-20.00; winter 9.00-18.00.
RAVELLO - VILLA CIMBRONE
The Villa Cimbrone (XX c.) was the dream and project of an eccentric and romantic English lord who heremixed styles and periods, ethnic and cultural elements, ancient finds and souvenirs from exotic journeys, in a unique, rare and poetic folly. A bizarre and genial structure sports a four-storey high battlemented tower and another smaller one, clad in small polychrome tiles of enameled terracotta; a palazzo with fireplaces, statues, bas-reliefs, tapestries, paintings and a small convent cloister; an elegant and classical tea room with white columns and majolicated pillars, and a ‘crypt’ that is actually a terrace room. Not to mention pagan reminiscences (temples, atria and statues dedicated to gods and sirens); or Eve’s grotto; or the magical ‘Rondinaia’ (‘swallows’ nest’) a nearby villa built into the sheer cliff face above the bay; or a magical belvedere, unique in the whole world.
Opening Hours: summer, 9.00-20.00; winter 9.00-sunset.
RAVELLO - DUOMO (CATHEDRAL)
Duomo (Cathedral of XI c.) on the highest point of the town, it is dedicated to San Pantaleone; a precious ampoule holds the miraculous relic of the Patron Saint’s blood, which liquefies every July 27th, the anniversary of his martyrdom. On the façade, flanked by a fine XIII c. bell tower, there is a marvellous bronze door (1179) decorated with 54rectangular panels adorned with sculpted figures and scenes. Inside, an admirable fusion of Baroque, Arabic and Byzantine elements, real artistic masterpieces: sarcophagi, paintings, and numerous historical testimonials of its past, among which an elegant marble pulpit (XIII c.) and an ambo decorated with mosaics (XII c.). The chapel dedicated to the Saint houses various relics from the East: from wood of the Holy Cross, preserved within a silver crucifix, to the right arm of St.Thomas; from the head of St Barbara to two teeth of the apostle Mathew; from a bone of St Laurence the martyr to the relics of Saints Filippo Neri, Vincent the martyr, Vito and Lucy.
Opening Hours: 9.00 - 12.00 e 17.30 - 19.00