Thursday, November 30, 2017

Walking tour of Amalfi, Italy

September 20: It was a beautiful day in Maiori. We boarded a ferry at Maiori wharf to cruise along the Amalfi coast and visit Amalfi.

Amalfi Coast Boat ride:

After disembarking from the boat at the Amalfi wharf Katia (tour director) marched us through the portals of the city.

Named after a nymph who was in love with Hercules and buried here as the legend goes, Amalfi of former maritime glory being one of the four maritime republics (Genoa, Amalfi, Venice and Pisa) is a coastal town of what is called Costeira Amalfiana. Amalfi commanded the position as a major maritime force in the past but is now history. Traders from as far as Arabia, India and China appeared to have traded with Amalfians. Present day Amalfi is a well-known tourist attraction teeming with folks from all over the world.

It was the English aristocracy who came and enjoyed their time in former times , and now even folks like us can come and enjoy.

We could see the imposing cathedral as soon as we entered the town and St. Andrew’s statue was right next to it. We also had access to a local guide provided by Smithsonian Journeys who explained the history of Amalfi; the various details of the Cathedral and how it was modified couple of times; and the history of St. Andrews’ relics buried in the Cathedral.

We walked around the Amalfi town visiting the town square learning the architectural style of the Cathedral; the structure of the city with hidden lodgings carved into the mountain for people to hide for periods of time during enemy invasion and how maritime history came to an end and tourism began.

Katia also took us to see the network of passageways threaded into the mountains where folks hid from enemy eyes during enemy incursions into the city. We also visited a small chapel in one of these grottos maintained by a lady of advanced years where children were collected and cared for during the enemy incursions.

Coastal scenery; boats and ships in the ocean; colorful landscape; embarking / disembarking tourists; picturesque houses precariously perched on the vertiginous mountain slopes; lemon farming on terraces on the mountain slopes; gives Amalfi a unique appeal shared by other coastal towns in the same region like Sorrento and Positano which we will be visiting soon. Amalfi is one of several coast towns in this region included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

We then visited Museum of Paper. The Museo Do Papel De Amalfi, the 14tth Century, oldest surviving paper making facility in Amalfi is certainly worth a visit. It is still in working condition producing the Bambagina paper much valued in Europe and elsewhere. The guides here are truly professional and explained its history; the various engineering pieces bringing water from mountain top to the cisterns; the hydraulic system driving the water wheels of the factory; and how the paper was made.

One of our fellow traveler was able to demonstrate paper making by picking the paper slurry and putting it on a drying cylinder. You can buy the Bambagina paper besides other kinds of paper in the museum shop.

Walking tour of Amalfi:  Click to see Video

There are objects of the bygone maritime era in museums such as the Museo Civico.  Right next to it was the 'Emerald cave' which we missed.

We also walked by an imposing war memorial marked for the years 1935-1945.

It was past noon when we had lunch at this very nice water front restaurant called Marina Grande. The food was excellent and the service, a little slow, getting the bill slower, but OK.

After lunch we go visit Ravello.

Ci vediamo piĆ¹ tardi a Ravello!

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