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Amalfi

Amalfi

Amalfi is a town in a dramatic natural setting below steep cliffs on Italy’s southwest coast. Between the 9th and 11th centuries, it was the seat of a powerful maritime republic.

The Arab-Norman Sant’Andrea cathedral at the heart of town, with its striped Byzantine facade, survives from this era.
The Museo Arsenale Amalfi is a medieval shipyard-turned-exhibition space.

Amalfi is the town that gives its name to the whole coast as well as one of the most famous tourist destinations in the world for its history, monuments and natural setting that allowed to be declared by UNESCO World Heitage Site.

History

In the coat of arms it is written “Descendit ex patribus Romanorum”: the origins of Amalfi date back to the Roman time, as evidenced by the discovery of a nymphaeum belonging to a Roman villa built under the Emperor Tiberius. The place name also has Latin origin, deriving from Melfi, a Lucanian city whose refugees landed here, or from the “gens Amarfia”.

It was bishopric since 596 and was part of the Romanesque-Byzantine duchy until 839, when it became an autonomous republic (the first of the Maritime Republic in Italy) ruled first by Counts elected every year, then by Prefects and finally by Dukes who transformed it in a kind of ducal monarchy. From that moment there was the supremacy of Amalfi in maritime trade with the East and in the whole Mediterranean basin, through a network of settlements in the main ports. The merchant ships of Amalfi, laden with timber, sailed off to the North-African, Syrian, Palestinian coasts and Byzantium, exchanging it with gold, spices, precious stones and fabrics. Amalfi traders soon became very rich, attracting the attention and enmity of new and emerging competitors, such as Pisa and Genoa.

The arsenals, used for the construction of the hulls of the galleys, the maritime code called “Tabula de Amalpha” and the tradition of the invention of the compass by Flavio Gioia are what remain of Amalfi seafaring history.
Conquered by the Normans in 1131 and sacked by Pisa few years later, Amalfi lost its autonomy but, from the economic point of view, entrepreneurship was concentrated in the production of handmade paper according to the Arabic method, in the manufacture of iron and wool.
The decline coincided with the war between the Angevins and Aragonese and, in particular, with a terrible storm, on the night between November 24th and 25th, that destroyed much of the ancient port of Amalfi. Once became a fief, it was ruled by many families: Sanseverino, Colonna, Orsini and Piccolomini.
The tourist history of Amalfi coincides with the arrival of the North-European travelers at the time of the Grand Tour, looking for remains of the Greek and Roman period and Romantic views. From that moment Amalfi and the whole coast were rediscovered even by celebrities as locations for spending their amalfitan holidays.

Things to see and do in Amalfi

Amalfi is by far the most famous location of the Costiera and surely a landmark that nobody would like to skip. In the following guide you will find everything you need to know about Amalfi before organising your trip, so that you will be able to get prepared for transportation, accommodation, food and places to visit in advance.

Duomo di Sant’Andrea Apostolo

A melange of architectural styles, Amalfi’s cathedral is a bricks-and-mortar reflection of the town’s past as an 11th-century maritime superpower. It makes a striking impression at the top of a sweeping 62-step staircase. Between 10am and 5pm, the cathedral is only accessible through the adjacent Chiostro del Paradiso, part of a four-section museum, incorporating the cloisters, the 9th-century Basilica del Crocefisso, the crypt of St Andrew and the cathedral itself. Outside these times, you can enter the cathedral for free.

The cathedral dates in part from the early 13th century. Its striped facade has been rebuilt twice, most recently at the end of the 19th century. It was constructed next to an older cathedral, the Basilica del Crocefisso, to which it long remained interconnected. The still-standing basilica now serves as a museum.

The cathedral was originally built to house the relics of St Andrew the Apostle, which arrived here from Constantinople in 1208. Architecturally the building is a hybrid. The Sicilian Arabic-Norman style predominates outside, particularly in the two-tone masonry, mosaics and 13th-century bell tower. The huge bronze doors, the first of their type in Italy, were commissioned by a local noble and made in Syria before being shipped to Amalfi. The interior is primarily baroque with some fine statues at the altar, along with some interesting 12th- and 13th-century mosaics.

Chiostro del Paradiso

To the left of Amalfi’s cathedral porch, these magnificent Moorish-style cloisters, complete with the remnants of 13th-century frescoes, were built in 1266 to house the tombs of Amalfi’s prominent citizens; 120 marble columns support a series of tall, slender Arabic arches around a central garden.

Entered from the cloisters, the Basilica del Crocefisso functions as a museum housing more frescoes and religious artefacts, including silver-embossed, 13th-century reliquary heads. Down below, the crypt contains the relics of St Andrew the Apostle.

Amalfi’s Paper Museum

Amalfi’s Paper Museum is housed in a rugged, cave-like 13th-century paper mill (the oldest in Europe). It lovingly preserves the original paper presses, which are still in full working order, as you’ll see during the 30-minute guided tour (in English). The tour explains the original cotton-based paper production and the subsequent wood-pulp manufacturing. Afterwards you might be inspired to pick up some of the stationery sold in the gift shop, including calligraphy sets and paper pressed with flowers.

The Tower of Ziro

The Tower of Ziro, on a hill overlooking Amalfi, with the fortress of Pogerola and the fortress of Santa Sofia now destroyed, were the defense complex of the town of Amalfi. The Tower of Ziro was built around the year 1278 and renovated in 1440. Currently abandoned.

The tower was built as an outpost and watchtower to guard against attack by Saracen pirates.
The local community and, in particular, its more elderly residents rarely come here: no doubt deterred by the fact that the tower has been the theater of the most horrific events.

In the early 16th century, Giovanna D’Aragona, the Duchess of Amalfi, and her children were locked up in the tower.

Giovanna was accused of having an affair with the court butler, soon after her husband, Alfonso Piccolmini, Duke of Amalfi, died.
The relationship caused such a scandal that the Duchess’s brothers decided to imprison their sister and her children, still mere infants at the time, in the tower, where they were murdered.

It is perhaps no surprise that the locals consider that the Tower is haunted, and best avoided.

Amalfi Coast Private Experience by Boat

Departure from Positano or Amalfi
Duration: 8 or 4 hours
From: 700 €

A boat trip is the perfect way to discover the beauty of the Amalfi Coast in one day, leaving.
From Positano we will sail through Praiano, Marina di Praia, the famous Fiordo di Furore patrimony of the UNESCO and the beautiful Emerald Grotto.

The cruise follows to Amalfi the glorious Sea republic.
Departure from Positano along the way to Amalfi we will admire the unique scenery of our Amalfi Coast.

Then from our boat we will see: Praiano with the Gavitella beach, the “Grotta Dell ‘Africana” and Marina di Praia, a small fishermen village. It is possible also visit the Emerald Grotto (extra €5 pp cash to be paid directly there), this visit is optional, you can decide with the skipper if you want to visit it or not.

After this the excursion will restart passing through Conca dei Marini, the natural Arch, Amalfi, Atrani with the waterfalls of Marmorata. If you wish you can stop in Amalfi for have some free time to see the center of the town and enjoy a nice walk on the main street visiting the S. Andrea’s Cathedral.

The skipper can also book a table for you in a seaside restaurant along the Coast. You can stop for a swim in the limpid waters of the coast for a refreshing and relaxing bath. We will then return to Positano.
On board you can enjoy a wide selection of drinks available for you.


Capri Private Experience by Boat

Departure from Amalfi (Darsena)
Duration: 8 or 4 hours
From: 850 €

Departure from Amalfi (Darsena) * at 09.30 am towards the island of Capri. Along the way we will also pass through the famous island “Li galli” known throughout the world for the famous legend that saw it as the “home” of the mermaids, mysterious creatures that tempted sailors with their soft singing. You will then reach Capri, one of the most famous and requested destinations in Campania.

Then you will visit the most beautiful spots of Capri, such as the White Cave, the Natural Arch, the Faraglioni, one of the most romantic and evocative sceneries of Capri. Arriving at the port you will have the opportunity to choose how much free time you have at your disposal to visit the center of Capri and go shopping, or the sailor will recommend a good restaurant along the coast where you can enjoy a good meal overlooking the sea.

Back on board you will visit the Green Grotto, Punta carena with its lighthouse and the Blue Grotto (extra ticket 15 € pp cash to be paid directly there), this visit is optional, you can visit it or decide with the sailor not to visit it. Your sailor will also be able to advise you of splendid coves where to stop for a bath. On board you can take advantage of a wide selection of drinks available for you.

*we also offer departures from Praiano Marina di Praia (09.30 am to the boarding pier)
Praiano Gavitella (09.30)

Included in the price: soft drinks (water, coca cola, tea), a bottle of Prosecco and beach towels

*This is just an exemple of tour, you can change the itineray based on your need directly with the captain.

*The boarding dock of Positano during the high season time can be really busy, sometimes you can find queue for boarding.

NB: The visit of Blue Grotto is not always possible because the opening of the cave depends by the weather and sea conditions. Our boat will stop at the entrance of the cave, from there you will pass a small rowing boats managed by the Cooperative Battellieri of Capri, the only ones that allow entry into the cave. In high season the queue at the entrance is very long, for this reason the visiti s a group decision.


Sunset Cruise

Departure from Amalfi (Darsena)
Duration: 1 hour 30 min
From: 260 €

The sunset cruise is a perfect tour if you wish to spend just few hours on a boat cruising along the Amalfi Coast.

We offer two itineraries:

Departure from Amalfi (Darsena), cruising along the Coast you’ll arrive until the Li Galli island, a private island.

One of the first owners of the island was the famous Russian dancer Rudolf Hametovic Nureyev who spent its life on the island and used it for important dance events.

You can enjoy the beauty of the islands, three small islands near each other, you’ll stop there and enjoy a nice aperitif on board. On the way back we sail though Testa del Faraone and Punta Germano until Positano.

Departure from Positano/Praiano, cruising along the Coast you’ll see Praiano with la Gavitella beach, Marina di Praia (an old fishermen village) until the famous Fiordo di Furore.

There you can enjoy a nice aperitif on boar with an amazing view on the Capo di Conca (on one side) and Praiano on the other side.

 

Li Galli Tours

Departure from Amalfi (Darsena)
Duration: 3 hours
From: 230 €

Li Galli Tour (daily, cost from 230 € 2/4 px 270€ 5/6 pax :

Tour: Departure from Amalfi (Darsena)*, to the Li Galli island. The tour lasts three hours.

On the route to get to the Galli island, you will admire the splendid Bay of Fornillo with the two Saracen towers, the Torre Trasita and the Torre Clavel.

Once you arrive at Li Galli island there will be a complete tour of the island and stop for a swim in the clear waters of our coast.

* We also offer departures from:

Positano (Spiaggia Grande) Praiano Gavitella (09:55 – 13.55)

Included in the price: soft drinks (water, Coca Cola, tea) and beach towels

 

Procida Private Tour

Departure from Amalfi (Darsena)
Duration: 8 hours
From: 1800 €

Departure from Amalfi (Darsena) * (09.30), towards the island of Procida.

Along the way we will pass through the bay of Nerano and the island of Capri, one of the most famous destinations in Campania.

Then we will reach Procida, the third largest island in the Neapolitan area.

Procida is also the island of culture, in fact the novel “the island of Arturo” by Elsa Morante is set here. It is also the island where “Il Postino” by Massimo Troisi was filmed.

You will have free time on the island to admire the historic city center. The sailor will also be able to recommend a restaurant on the island for lunch. You will have time for a swim in the beautiful coves of the Campania coast between Positano and Procida.

On board you will find an ice box equipped with water, coca cola, tea and a bottle of Prosecco.

Included in the price soft drinks, a bottle of Prosecco, beach towels

 

Ischia Private Tour

Departure from Amalfi (Darsena)
Duration: 8 hours
From: 1800 €

Departure from Amalfi (Darsena) * (9.30), towards the island of Ischia. Along the way we will pass through the bay of Nerano and the island of Capri, one of the most famous destinations in Campania.

It will then reach Ischia, an island famous throughout the world for its natural thermal springs, it covers an area of ​​46 square kilometers and is administratively divided by 6 municipalities: Barano d’Ischia, Casamicciola Terme, Forio d’Ischia, Ischia, Lacco Ameno and Serrara Fontana.

The landing is scheduled in Ischia Porto where you will have three hours of free time on the island to visit the famous Aragonese Castle, which stands on a trachytic rock island connected to the eastern side of the island of Ischia by a masonry bridge 220 meters long, or enjoy some shopping along the main street of Ischia Porto. The sailor will be able to recommend a restaurant on the island for lunch.

You will also have time for a swim in the beautiful coves of the Campania coast between Positano and Ischia. On board you will find an ice box equipped with water, coca cola, tea and a bottle of Prosecco.

* we also offer departures from:

Positano (Spiaggia Grande)

Praiano Marina di Praia 09.30

Praiano Gavitella 09.30

Included in the price soft drinks, a bottle of Prosecco, beach towels


“Like a dream” Wedding Proposal

Departure from Amalfi (Darsena)
Duration:1 hour 30 min
From: 450 €

Positano and the Amalfi Coast are known throughout the world not only for their beauty but also for the unique romanticism that these landscapes offer. If you are looking for the perfect spot for an unforgettable marriage proposal, this is the tour for you.

A sunset cruise with an aperitif and a professional photographer to capture these unique moments. The tour consists of a sunset cruise or along the Amalfi Coast (where you can admire Marina di Praia, a small fishing village and the Fiordo di Furore) or to the island of Li Galli.

On board you will find an ice box with various drinks and a bottle of Prosecco for an aperitif on board.

* the tour includes: professional photographer, soft drinks, Prosecco and beach towels

On request we can also combine a bouquet of flowers / a small cake / live serenade with mandolin

Also you can decide directly with the skipper on board the perfect place for your proposal


Amalfi Coast half day tour

Departure from Positano
Duration: 4 hours
From: 400 €

Departure from Positano* at 10.00 on the way to Amalfi enjoy the unique scenery in the world, our Amalfi Coast.
Admire from the boat Praiano with the cove of Gavitella, the “Grotta dell’Africana” and Marina di Praia, a small fishing village.

You can also visit the Emerald Grotto (extra €6 pp cash to be paid directly there), this visit is optional, you can choose whether to visit the cave or stay on board.

It will then resume the excursion passing through Conca dei Marini, the natural Arch and Amalfi.On the way back to Positano you’ll stop for a swim in the limpid waters of the coast .On board you can enjoy a wide selection of drinks available for you.

* We also offer departures from:

Praiano Marina di Praia (09:50 – 13.50 at the boarding pier)

Praiano Gavitella (09:55 – 13.55)

Included in the price: soft drinks (water, Coca Cola, tea) and beach towels


Capri Group day tour

Departure from Amalfi (Darsena)
Duration: 8 hours
From: 80 € (max 12 pax)

Departure from Amalfi (Darsena)* at 09:00 for the island of Capri. You will arrive in Capri, one of the most famous and requested destinations of Campania, passing by the most beautiful points of Capri, like the White Grotto, the natural arch, the Faraglioni rocks, one of the most romantic and suggestive scenery of Capri.

Arriving at the Marina Piccola port you will have 4 hours of free time at your disposal for lunch, visit the centre of Capri and go shopping. The skipper will give you a meeting point with the extact boarding time directly the day of the tour.

Back on board you will visit the Green Grotto, Punta Carena with its lighthouse and the famous Blue Grotto (extra €15 pp cash payable directly there), this is an optional visit and a group decision if the queue is too long*. On the way back to Positano you can stop for a relaxing bath in the waters of a beautiful bay, quiet and with clean water that the skipper will suggest. On board you can enjoy a wide selection of soft drinks available for you.

* We also offer departures from:
Positano Spiaggia Grande (08:50 Positano Boat Stand Office on the beach)

Praiano Marina di Praia (08:50 at the boarding pier)

Praiano Gavitella (08:55)

Included in the price: soft drinks (water, Coca Cola, tea) and beach towels

 

NB: The visit of Blue Grotto is not always possible because the opening  of the cave depends by the weather and sea conditions. Our boat will stop at the entrance of the cave, from there you will pass a small rowing boats managed by the Cooperative Battellieri of Capri, the only ones that allow entry into the cave. In high season the queue at the entrance is very long, for this reason the visiti s a group decision.

The Valle delle Ferriere

The Valle delle Ferriere is a place unique to this world. It can be easily reached on foot from Amalfi in about an hour. It is nice and cool even in the height of summer thanks to the waterfalls and streams running its length. The entire valley can be covered following a network of paths, the main two traditionally denominated sentiero basso (lower trail) and sentiero alto (upper trail).
The most interesting part is without doubt the Nature Reserve (Riserva Naturale Orientata), to be found at its centre.

valle delle ferriere
As a result of its geographical position, this area has benefited from the specific physical and biological characteristics of its environment. Thanks to the high rocky ridges either side of the valley, it is protected from the cold north winds and mainly south facing, thus creating a good ecological terrain with a high degree of humidity and a very moderate range of temperatures.

In this extraordinary environment, colonies of plants of great interest have been able to survive from time immemorial. Some are species dating back to the Tertiary such as thermophiles and in particular the giant fern Woodwardia radicans, identified for the first time in 1710 by the botanist Pier Antonio Micheli. They are a very rare testimony to the preglacial flora of Italy, which only here and in areas such as the Vallone Porto of Positano, found sufficient moisture to satisfy their needs.

Here too can be seen spotted salamanders from the Caudata order of the Salamandridae family, or ferns such as Pteris cretica and Pteris vittata, or the carnivorous plant Pinguicola hirtiflora. This entire ecosystem represents something unique of invaluable scientific and naturalistic value.

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