History of Amalfi


History of Amalfi

Amalfi is a continuous call for tourists from all over the world, who thirsty of light and beauty, find the place in a perennial spring. The chromatic tonalities make the sea incomparable. In this angle of authentic terrestrial heaven, the history and the legends create an inseparable whole.

According to tradition Ercole, the pagan God of strength, loved a nymph named Amalfi: but their love was brief: she died and Ercole wanted to give her burial in the most beautiful place in the world and to immortalize giving her the name to the city he built.

For an historical point of view Amalfi was founded after the death of Costantino;  it draws its origins from the Roman families that embarked from Constantinople, they were crushed by the storm in the gulf of Policastro, they founded «Melphes» the actual Melfi, transferred then to north, they took abode in the place where it is now the actual Amalfi, founding it with the name of «Á.-Melphes».

From 533, up to the time of the Greek-Gothic war, when with the victory of Narsete on Teia, Amalfi passed under the dominion of the Byzantine Empire and became part of the Dukedom in Naples In the VI century it became an Episcopalian center. The Bishop acquitted religious functions and handled the defense of the city. Subsequently an aristocracy of great land owners was established, which deprived the Bishop of his political power.

In 836 Sicardo, duke of Benevento, ransacked Amalfi deporting its inhabitants to Salerno. In 839 the duke Sicardo was killed, the Amalfitanis had rebelled against him and had obtained power and autonomy that lasted up to the end of the XI century.

During the VIII century the Amalfitans were present in the oriental Mediterranean for commercial motives and in the principals centers of the Byzantine East and Arabic Africa, they gave life colonies with houses, churches, monasteries and hospitals. The amalfitan commerce, that had in the quoted areas its capisalds, gained for the Marinara Republic profitable earnings to the point of being considered “the most prosperous city in Longobardia” and an important cosmopolitan center.

In 1131 the conquest of the Norman in the Dukedom of Amalfi brought about the end of its independence with the birth of the Kingdom of Sicily

During the XIII century, particularly profitable for the amalfitana society, besides the realization of a notable series of public works and monuments, as for instance the Cloister Heaven and the Crypt of the Cathedral, some important innovations were also made in the maritime, economic and juridical sectors. The use of the compass was introduced, the techniques of the production of paper were applied and learned from the Arabic world, and finally the Young judge Augustariccio fixed in writing, in 1274, the Consuetudineses Civitatis Amalfie.

During the first part of the XIV century some natural calamities irreparably destroyed the Amalfitan economy damaged by the War of the Evening (1282).

From 1392 to 1583 the Dukedom of Amalfi was subdued to feud and saw as Dukes of noble Amalfi exponent from families such as Column, the Orsinis and finally the Piccolominis. It was in those years that were developed in Amalfi, Atrani and Minori numerous pastifici that made pasta famous all over the world.

During the XVII and XVIII century the city and its territory were submitted to a total artistic and architectural renewal, evident in a particular way in the religious monuments. In the 1800 Amalfi  was rediscovered as a destination to stay and study for numerous foreign travellers:  it was so that the landscapes, the monuments, the scenes of daily life became the source of inspiration for writers, painters, architects coming from every part of Europe

The festivals and the popular traditions of Amalfi are tightly tied up to the Ecclesiastical calendar, that startswith the Saint Week, one of the culminating events along the xml:lang=”EN-GB”>Amalfitan are the numerous “Street Crucis” and the suggestive liturgical processions. Among these prevails that of the Christ Morto, which started the evening of Friday along the darkened roads of the urban center in Amalfi. The other religious events of relief, the Christmas, also in Coastline as everywhere in the Neapolitan, is characterized by “Presepi”, that are situated even in caves and fountains, as in the Cave of the Emerald portance, they also assume the religious and civil cerimonies in honor of the saints, above all that of St. Andrew, the patron saint of the city, whose relics were moved in 1208 to Amalfi from cardinal Pietro Capuano where there had been the conquest of Constantinople by the Crusaders. The relics are revered in the crypt of the Cathedral, where the miracolo of the manna also happens.

Then the ” Viecchio” (the popular affectionate appellative of the Saint) is brought to the foot of run of the steep stairway of the Cathedral, renewing so the ancient rite of the “challenge to the divinity”, whose charm still survives in modern forms.

Amalfi Dom

Devoted to St. Andrew, the cathedral in Amalfi rises at the end of a steep stairway, and it overhangs the square with the same name. In the center of which there is the eighteenth-century fountain of rhe Saint of Amalfi. The building, the originals plans of which go back  to the IX century, was inspired in 1203 by the Sicilian Arab-Norman forms and then again during the other centuries’. The facade is of particular beauty, rebuilt after the 1861 collapse, it introduces valuable musive decorations:  in the eardrum Christ is represented in a throne between the symbols of the Evangelists and the Terrestrial power, a sketch by Domenico Morelli.

To the left of the façade the bell tower rises, initiated in 1180 and completed in 1276, which, even though many times restored, preserves its native aspect.

It was used in 389 as a tower of defense during attack by the Angioinis, it is more up of a plan of bifore and one of trifore, architectural elements of evident Norman derivation and it culminates with the multi colored maiolicata dome, of Arabic inspiration. The door in bronze, realised in Constantinople before 1066, showing carvings of Christ, of the Madonna and of the Saints Andrew and Pietro. The inside of the church, to Latin cross to three aisles, reconstructed in Baroque style, preserve frescos, statues and other works of art of notable interest: the paintings of Andrew of Asti can be admired, adorning the ceiling of the median aisle and the transetto, the Renaissance marmoreal ancona with three saints, the sixteenth-century grave of the bishop Andrea of Acunto and both with marble icon decoration belonging to the native church.