Amalfi

How to get to Amalfi

Amalfi is located right in the center of southern Italy's Amalfi Coast (or Costiera Amalfitana in Italian) and you can get here by car, ferry, or bus.

Sita buses run regularly to Amalfi from Sorrento and Salerno; in the summer ferry routes connect Amalfi to both Naples and Salerno.

Driving times from other locations in Campania:
From Ravello: 17 minutes
From Atrani: 2 minutes
From Positano: 35 minutes
From Praiano: 60 minutes
From Sorrento 1 hour
From Salerno : 50 minutes
From Capri: 20-minute ferry to Sorrento, then 60 minutes
From Pompeii: 1 hour
From Naples: 1 hour 20 minutes
From Naples Capodichino Airport (the closest airport to Amalfi): about 1 hour 20 minutes

For more detailed directions and information on how to get to Amalfi: How to get to the Amalfi Coast

Amalfi, Coastal Warrior Queen

Italy's oldest maritime republic and symbol of the Amalfi Coast, Amalfi continues to enchant visitors just like it did in the days of the Grand Tour.

Just over three square kilometers of devastatingly beautiful scenery at the mouth of the Valle dei Mulini: this is Amalfi, a town which opens like a fan towards the sea, sheltered from behind by the steep slopes of the Monti Lattari.

Amalfi's ancient Roman origins are evident from a number of ruins, including those of a nymphaeum dating back to the reign of Emperor Tiberius.

Amalfi is the oldest of Italy's four major Maritime Republics and prospered for a full three centuries under the Normans, Longobards, and even the Saracens.

Its decline began in 1137 when it was defeated and pillaged by the rival republic of Pisa.

"For the people of Amalfi the day they enter Paradise will be a day much like any other: because for them paradise is already here on earth, right on their doorstep."
(Inscription on the gates to the town)

History

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The history of Amalfi has been shaped by the town's extensive commercial relations throughout the Mediterranean and the great technical and scientific prowess of its citizens, such as the Amalfi-born Flavio Gioia, attributed with the invention of the nautical compass.

Then there are the Tavole Amalfitane, which for centuries represented the maritime code in the Mediterranean.

When, in the mid-1800s, Prince Ferdinand of Bourbon constructed the coastal road between Vietri sul Mare and Positano, allowing easier access to this beautiful stretch of Italian coast, the town's mild climate and beautiful architecture made Amalfi an obligatory stop on the Grand Tour.

Today, traveling to Amalfi over land or sea is still an unforgettable experience.

Quintessentially Mediterranean, Amalfi's townscape is comprised of a cluster of little white houses interspersed with narrow alleyways and shady porticoes and guarded by watchtowers such as the Torre Saracena, close to the Convent of San Francesco.

Things to see and do in Amalfi town:
The Amalfi Cathedral
The ancient arsenals
The paper museum
Limoncello tasting

The Amalfi Cathedral and the Ancient Arsenals

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  • Amalfi

The town's main landmark is the Duomo, or cathedral. Begun in the 9th century and altered on various occasions, the church, preceded by an impressive flight of 62 steps, towers over Amalfi's main piazza.

The multi-colored facade was completely rebuilt in the 19th century after the original collapsed. Work on the majolica faced bell tower was completed in 1276. The interior is a magnificent display of Italian baroque art and silver masonry.

A bronze statue of Sant Andrea dominates the altar and protects the reliquary urn associated with the miraculous appearance of the manna, which the people of Amalfi commemorate each November 27th.

From inside the cathedral, visitors gain access to the first Duomo of Amalfi, now called the Basilica del Crocifisso, and to the splendid Chiostro del Paradiso, the cloister built in the 13th century as a cemetery where the town's most illustrious citizens were laid to rest.

Beware: if you are superstitious, don't climb up the steps of this storied Amalfi church hand-in-hand with your loved one! According to local legend, couples who do so will never get married.

Beyond the Piazza del Duomo, at the center of which the 18th century Fontana del Popolo takes pride of place, visitors reach what remains of the ancient arsenals where the marine republic's warships were once constructed.

Just a few steps away there is the pretty little Piazzetta dei Dogi, lined with traditional shops.

In the vicinity of what was once called the Vallenula - the old western gateway to the city - is the 10th century Church of San Biagio, which is famous for its precious late 18th-century majolica floor.

Walks in and around Amalfi:
The Valle dei Mulini and the Vallone delle Ferriere
From Amalfi to Atrani, along the Via delle Signore footpath

The Papermaking Tradition

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No visit to Amalfi can be considered complete without having enjoyed a stroll through the town's labyrinth of little lanes and alleyways or a trip to the Paper Museum at Via delle Cartiere 24 in the historic Cartiera Milano.

The production of hand-crafted paper, known as bambagina, is one of the oldest of Amalfi's traditions and today remains part of the town's culture and identity.

Those looking to purchase a few sheaves of the paper can do so in the 500-year-old Cartiera Amatuda, close to the Canneto river in the Valle dei Mulini.

Where to Eat in Amalfi and Atrani

  • For lunch on the beach: Lido Azzurro, offering light and fresh fish and seafood dishes.
  • For a gourmet dinner: Da Savor under the porticos of tiny Atrani or the historic trattoria Da Gemma in the center of Amalfi.
  • For traditional cooking: Da Ciccio cielo, mare e terra. Try their famous "spaghetti al cartoccio"!

Since Amalfi marks the center point of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Amalfi Coast, it's a great base to explore the many small towns or hidden gems along the coastline.

Things to see and do near Amalfi:
Cetara, famous for its anchovies
The tiny villages of Minori and Maiori
Ravello and the historic Villa Cimbrone and Villa Rufolo
The Furore Fjord
The glorious Path of the Gods that begins in the mountainside hamlet of Agerola