It is surrounded by dramatic cliffs and coastal scenery. It has a rich history and was once the capital of a maritime republic. An important trading and economic power in the Mediterranean during the Early Middle Ages it declined rapidly during the High Middle Ages. Today it is a popular holiday destination with many beaches. The town has a rich cultural history with many festivals.
The foundation of Amalfi dates back to the Romans. It acquired importance after the 6th century as a maritime power, trading grain, salt, slaves and timber. It also bought and resold Byzantine silks in the West. Its traders enjoyed privileged position in the Islamic ports. The famous Tavole amalfitane (Amalfi tables) provided a maritime code that was widely used by many Christian coastal cities. A testament to its wealth is the fact that during the 9th century, Amalfeans were using gold coins to purchase land and conduct trade while most of Italy worked in the basis of a barter economy. The Amalfean fleet assisted Pope Leo IV in 848 against the Saracens.
After extracting itself from Byzantine vassalage in 839, Amalfi became an independent republic from the 7th century until 1075. It elected its first duke in 958 and rivaled Pisa and Genoa in prosperity and maritime power. During the reign of Duke Manso (966-1004) it reached a population of about 70.000. It remained independent except for a brief period of Salernitan dependency under Guaimar IV.
In 1073 it fell to the Normans and in 1131 it fell again to King Roger II of Sicily. The city was reduced. During the war between King Roger II and the Holy Roman Emperor Lothair, the Pisans, allies of Lothair and commercial rivals of the Amalfeans sacked the city in 1135 and 1137. Amalfi rapidly declined in importance after that. In 1343 a tsunami destroyed the port and the lower town and Amalfi never recovered.
Museums - Archeological
The city is home to several important museums. The Municipal Museums of Amalfi is located on the first floor of the City Hall. It displays objects relating to the history of the city like banners, historical relics, and works of the painter Domenico Morelli. The museum also holds the Tabula Amalphitana drafted in 1400, a maritime code, the original of which was a maritime code that dates back to the date of the republic. It also exhibits nautical instruments and other objects recovered from medieval shipwrecks, including a celestial sphere of the seventeenth century.
The Museo della Carta di Amalfi is located in a former paper mill which was converted to a museum in 1969. The museum is home to machinery and equipment used in the ancient mill to make paper by hand. There are also photographs and prints and a library containing books themed on the techniques of production.
The most important museum is the Museum of the Compass and the Duchy of Amalfi. The museum’s collection illustrates the evolution of nautical navigational instruments, among which is the compass, “invented” according to tradition by the Amalfean Flavio Gioia in 1302. It also contains many artifacts dating back to Amalfi’s poticial autonomy as well as exhibits of Roman and Medieval sculpture, ancient parchments, codices and manuscripts, statues in tufa, cartographic illustrations of the entity of the Duchy, artistic costumes of merchants and ladies, knights and sailors, standard-bearers and ambassadors and of course of the duke and his bride.
The Duglio beach is one kilometer from Amalfi. The beach is about 170 metres long. As you will very probably presage, the easier is the descent the harder would be to go up, but trust us... it is worth it! Two comfortable beach resorts offer a complete range of services, while the extreme edges are accessible totally free of charge. Duoglio Beach is very sunny until early afternoon and the sea is pure and crystalline.
Le Sirene Beach This small beach is located behind the port of Amalfi, named for the restaurant and bathing establishment that runs it, the Lido delle Sirene. It's a rather small section of seafront, wedged between a breakwater and some rock outcroppings, but since it's outside the port area, the water is generally clean. It's a nice choice because it's in town and so easily accessible by public transit as well as by car (and with parking available in town), and all the services and refreshments you'd want are close at hand. It faces south and gets the sun throughout the afternoon.
The Marina Grande Beach in Amalfi It reaches very high levels of overcrowding on the weekends of July and August. Although it is not the only beach in Amalfi, being 184 meters long and up to 40 meters wide, it is certainly the most receptive one. Well served by several beach resorts and restaurants. You'll be able to rent sun-loungers and parasols, while bathing in a cosmopolitan and often colorful atmosphere, ideal for those who love confusion and worldliness.
The Marinella Beach is a tiny strip below the Lungomare dei Cavalieri, right at Amalfi’s seafront. It's connected to the restaurant, La Marinella. It's a popular spot with locals, who come for a swim or to let the kids splash in the shallow water. The small beach is pebbles and it keeps receding, so a sunbathing deck has been built up above to extend the "beach" area.
The Port Beach in Amalfi is popular spot right at the port of Amalfi, it's less crowded than the Marina Grande. It is anchored on either side by a restaurant - the Smeraldino (little emerald) and Azzurro (blue). In between is a seafront space of pebbly beach that is easily reachable and where the waters are clean and calm. The backdrop of the town is nice, with unobstructed sea where boats are moored in the water is the water-side view.
The Protontini Beach is a "city beach" - the last sliver of sand after the port, where the Amalfi road heads out towards Positano. It's almost invisible from the road, but it's wedged between the town's port and a noted restaurant, Lo Smeraldino (worth booking a table for a meal there!). This isn't the beach to spend the day - it's so small there's only space for a few sunbathers. Rather, it's the ideal place for a quick dip in the morning or upon returning from a day of heat-filled sightseeing.
The Santa Croce Beach. You will be able to reach Santa Croce beach through a long flight of steps, departing from the main coastal road. At the end of the staircase you will bump into the big fascinating grotto, where to admire the finds of the chapel once built in honour of the Holy Cross (Santa Croce), that gives the name to this marvellous beach.Actually Santa Croce offers two beaches divided by a small rocky promontory, but as a matter of fact linked through a large tunnel. The largest beach has sunlounger and umbrella rental facilties and a restaurant. The beach is about one hundred metres long and south-facing. You can enjoy a great sunbath until early afternoon. Sea water is always crystalline.
Religious Monasteries and Churches
The Cathedral of Saint Andrew, also know as the Duomo di Amalfi, is the most important church of the town. It was built in 987 AD and is of roman – baroque style. It has been extended and reconstructed over the centuries. The Church of Santa Maria a Piazza is a catholic church of baroque style, in the old medieval centre of the town. There is also the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine, the Church of Santa Maria del Pino, the Church of Santa Maria delle Neve, the Church of San Pietro Apostolo a Tovere, the Chapel of Santa Maria Annunziata, the Chapel of Santa Maria delle Grazie, the Chapel of Santa Anna la Scura, the Chapel of San Giuseppe dei Castriota, the Chapel of San Lorenzo and the Chapel of San Basilico. The churches host many of Amalfi’s festivities.