Amalfi's twin appears like an enchanting Italian nativity scene made up of a maze of little alleyways, narrow flights of steps, and houses clinging to the rocks directly over the Mediterranean Sea.
A fishing village, the history of which is inextricably linked to that of its illustrious neighbor, Amalfi, and which has conserved its ancient medieval structure, comprised of a cascade of houses interspersed with steep flights of steps, covered passageways, and tiny gardens, all incredibly intact. Clinging to the cliff face, directly above the sea, at the mouth of the Valle del Dragone, Atrani is the smallest town in the whole of Southern Italy.
The Dutch artist Escher came to the Amalfi Coast in 1923 and immediately fell head over heels in love with Atrani, immortalizing the game of light and shadow played amidst its narrow alleyways in a great number of his artworks.
How to Get to Atrani
The tiny village of Atrani is attached to the bustling center of Amalfi, just a kilometer further along the coast of Campania. You can reach Atrani via the A3 highway Napoli-Salerno, exiting at Vietri sul Mare. From Vietri, continue along the SS163, the famous coastal highway that runs the length of the Amalfi Coast, for about 20 kilometers until your reach Atrani. The nearest airport is Capodichino in Naples. Atrani can also be reached via the SITA bus from Salerno or Sorrento, running to Amalfi.
What to See in Atrani
Today, the famed Amalfitana" coast road has formed a barrier between the town and the sea, and those wishing to reach the water's edge have to use one of the passageways such as that in Piazza Umberto I, originally constructed as a shelter for boats during high tide and which now appears like the backstage of a theater facing the sea. The Church of San Salvatore de' Birecto, where the coronation of the Doges of the Republic of Amalfi once took place, is located here.
Another place to visit, if only for its incredibly panoramic position, is the sparkling majolica-domed Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Maddalena which dominates the entire eastern side of the town with its baroque-style facade and soaring bell tower.
Close to the church is the Grotta di Masaniello. According to the local legend, the revolutionist sought refuge in this cave, which is near to his maternal home. Enjoying a fabulous view over the whole of Atrani, the 11th-century Church of Santa Maria del Bando, set against the rocks beneath the Torre dello Zito, is particularly enchanting.
- Traditional festivals in Atrani:
- Santa Maddalena (Mary Magdalene), patron saint of Atrani (22 July)
- Reenactment of the Ducal wedding (April)
- Sagra del pesce azzurro (August)
What to Eat in Atrani
Fresh fish is a major protagonist in almost all of Atrani's gastronomic delicacies, though there are dishes which are not fish-based like sarchiapone, a marrow stuffed with meat and cheese cooked in tomato sauce, the custard-and-cherry-filled pasticciotto, and the wickedly sweet cassata atranese. Ristorante Savò in the town's tiny main square offers gourmet dishes that are striking both to the eye and palate. For simpler recipes, A' Paranza is run by a family of former fishermen.
- Other tasty treats:
- Scialatielli alle vongole veraci
- Colatura di alici
- Involtini di mozzarella in foglia di limone
- Delizia al limoncello