“The day of judgment, for the Amalfi people who will go to heaven, will be a day like any other.” – Renato Fucini –
The Amalfi Coast consists of 13 small towns along a rocky peninsula jutting out into the Mediterranean Sea just south of Naples, Italy. Most of these towns are situated in ravines formed by the severe terrain and cascade from the upper hillsides down to the sea in amazingly vertical formations.
First mentioned in the 6th century, Amalfi developed into a maritime power along the Mediterranean Sea and became a medieval commercial center in the region through its trading of grain for gold dinars and byzantine silks. A Tsunami destroyed the lower tiers of the town in 1343 and the town and the region never regained its former position as an important commercial center. These days Amalfi and its sister towns are seen as charming and idyllic places to vacation and draw huge numbers of visitors in the vacation season.
The region is renowned for its lemons who’s trees can be seen growing in practically every terraced garden and small yard in every village on the coast. They come in amazingly large versions and it’s common to see ripe lemons the size of melons. The growers have turned the lemon crop into gold by creating limoncello liqueur which is sold seemingly on every street corner.
Dating back to the 11th century, St. Andrews’s Cathedral overlooks the Piazza Duomo in the center of Amalfi and is said to contain the remains of St. Andrew in the tomb and crypt below the church which were built once Cardinal Pietro Capuano brought the remains to the cathedral from Constantinople in 1208.
Positano, an enclave set into the hilly terrain of the Amalfi Coast, was a maritime power in the 16th and 17th centuries. These days its economic engine is driven almost entirely by tourism as its charm and scenic beauty draw visitors from around the world. It was the featured Italian village in the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun” and Mick Jagger and Keith Richard wrote “Midnight Rambler” in a Positano café while on vacation .
The church of Sana Maria Assunta features a dome made of Majorca tiles as well as a 13th century Byzantine icon of a black Madonna. According to local legend, the icon had been stolen from Byzantium and was being transported by pirates across the Mediterranean. A terrible storm had blown up in the waters opposite Positano and the frightened sailors heard a voice on board saying “Posa, Posa” (Put down! Put down!). The precious icon was unloaded and carried to the fishing village and the storm abated. (Wikipedia)
Positano was a relatively poor fishing village during the first half of the twentieth century. It began to attract large numbers of tourists in the 1950’s, especially after John Steinbeck published his essay about Positano in Harper’s Bazaar in May, 1953. “Positano bites deep”, Steinbeck wrote. “It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone.” (Wikipedia)
I imagine Christopher Columbus was unfamiliar with modern lingerie.
Positano has only one main road weaving through the town and unlike other villages on the Amalfi Coast, it has no public parking areas. Consequently, tour buses cannot stop in the town and it is relatively free from the touristy knick knack shops and massive crowds that can overwhelm these small villages.
This image was shot from a historic local path high above the sea on the Amalfi Coast called “The walk of the Gods”. The terraces on this land have been developed over hundreds of years and one can imagine the work involved in creating the terraces with only hand tools and animal power.
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