Narrow streets full of colors and scents, historic sites, and the sea: the town reveals its face and shows the essence of its soul
February 3rd, 2022. By Francesca Faratro, photos by Salvatore Guadagno
“Amalfi is a picture made of colors and souls. Those who come here will feel the emotion of being part of that work of art. I am Amalfitan by birth, and I have spent my life here. And even today, when I am confronted with the spectacle that can be seen as soon as I turn the curve that leads up to the town, it is always a blow to the heart,” Andrea, born in Amalfi, class of ’56, tells us. The Maritime Republic of Amalfi, permeated with beauty, colored with citrus, and surrounded by the blue of the sea releasing its intoxicating scent, is an elegant and austere town.
A town to visit all year round
Strolling through its alleys, those narrow, shady streets that let guests get lost and delve into the most authentic city, one can breathe in an atmosphere of yesteryear but still current and pleasant to indulge in at any time the year.
In summer, swimming among the crystal-clear waters alternates with a fresh lemon granita or a musical sfogliatella. At the same time, in colder periods, it is romantic to stroll through the streets of the center among fountains, arches, and churches illuminated by little lights that warm the soul as they light up.
The historical route
Piazza Duomo, the beating heart where the famous and iconic cathedral stands majestically, is the place to indulge in a drink at any time of day or sip some water flowing from the marble fountain dedicated to the patron saint Andrew.
After walking down the entire flight of steps leading to the nave in front, a visit to the church’s interior is a must, with a detour to the Cloister of Paradise and the Crypt, which holds the remains of the Holy Apostle.
Rich in history and culture, just a few steps from the main square are the Ancient Arsenals, premises where in the distant past, boats were built and then laid down directly at sea. Now the city’s main museum, influential art or photography exhibitions can be admired inside, surrounded by vaults and original architectural structures.
The beating center of Amalfi’s everyday life is the squares, scattered here and there, each with its particularity. Enlivening them and making them even more beautiful are the balconies with clothes hanging where it is often easy to find a wicker basket hanging that, full of groceries, will be pulled up with a cotton thread.
For sports and nature lovers, during the day, it is possible to venture through a walk to discover the Valle delle Ferriere, a path among old local paper mills embellished with streams and the slow flow of the Canneto River. It leads to the Nature Reserve where, protected, an endangered variety of fern grows.
“Those who live here know they are lucky and can enjoy a human-scale dimension. It’s like spending a lifetime on vacation. Not because of the beauty of the places, or rather, not only. But for the well-being of everyday life, the habits and the sea that, with its immensity, never makes you feel lonely. We inhabitants in him, we take refuge, we turn to the body of water as if this were a friend, a confidant. And I assure you that there is no day where I do not find five minutes to go and observe it. I find myself there,” Andrea continues.
The charm of the night
The main street, which starts from Via Lorenzo d’Amalfi and leads to Via Pietro Capuano, is the place for shopping. All along the way are a series of small stores where you can buy handmade sandals, the famous Amalfi lemons, or a delicious bottle of limoncello.
For those enchanted by sunset lights, arriving until evening in the shadow of an illuminated town, the characteristic instead is Amalfi by night. As the sun sets, the invitation is to indulge in a leisurely dinner at one of the various restaurants that enliven the town.
Whether meat or fish-based, with snacks and local catch, it is possible to savor the local cuisine: make sure to catch the scialatielli, a handmade pasta most often seasoned with seafood or, in place of these, with tomato sauce or vegetables. “for the Amalfitans who will go to Paradise, the Day of Judgment, will be a day like any other”-would have said Renato Fucini in his ode to Amalfi. And so, camera in hand and off, we go for a stop to make at least once in a lifetime!