The Amalfi is renowned for its beauty. The cerulean Mediterranean stretches out sheer cliff faces, impossibly adorned with flower-laden homes, restaurants and boutique hotels. Treacherous winding roads are etched into unseen crevices, ancient churches stand proud in festive piazzas, tiny beaches are hidden between soaring mountains, and citrus trees and languid vineyards flourish in every available corner. The Amalfi is a place of abundance and incredible artistic and architectural splendour.
But we don’t need to tell you how beautiful and romantic the Amalfi coastline is, it has been revered for centuries. What we would like to share with you are some of the lesser-known facts, tips and treasures that will help you better appreciate this picturesque region. Peregrine’s local leaders were born and bred in this beautiful holiday destination, and they have a whole life’s worth of Amalfi experiences, insights and hidden haunts to share with you.
Festival of Sant’ Andrea
There are two annual feasts to celebrate Amalfi’s patron saint and protector Sant’ Andrea. They fall on the 27June and 30 November. The June feast is one of the region’s most dramatic and entertaining summer festivals. It marks a miracle that is said to have occurred in 1544. Amalfi was under attack by the fearsome Barbarossa pirates and the locals prayed to Sant Andrea to be spared. A terrible sea storm brewed, and the Amalfitans were saved.
The festival begins at the Duomo in the centre of Amalfi town. After a deeply religious mass, a procession, lead by the archbishop of Amalfi and accompanied by a marching band, leaves the cathedral. The statue of Sant’ Andrea is carried along with the procession and locals gather to touch the passing statue for luck. The procession continues through the town and onto the beach before returning back to the Duomo.
The whole town literally holds it’s breath as the procession reaches the stairs back in to the cathedral, when the statue makes it to the top of the 62 stairs unharmed, the crowd lets out a deafening roar. The town continues to celebrate with hours of music, food and fireworks. This is truly a highlight of the Italian summer and a festival not to be missed if you are nearby.
Amalfi was one of the first places to make paper (as we know it in the modern era) in Europe. A region ahead of its time, we think you’ll agree. The statue in Piazza Flavio Gioia is dedicated to a man named Flavio Gioia, who is rumoured to have invented or perfected the maritime navigation compass. The current façade of the Duomo was built between 1871 and 1891. The original façade actually collapsed ten years earlier on Christmas Eve in 1861. The new façade was designed by Errico Alvino, a Neapolitan architect.
It’s not just a beach
It may be hard to drag yourself away from the pristine sea, but Amalfi town actually has a lot more to offer than its gorgeous coastline. Once a prosperous maritime city-state, Amalfi has a rich naval history. Spend time walking the labyrinthine streets to discover beautiful old churches, cathedrals and relics of a time now long gone. Walk the Path of the Gods for another perspective again – you’ll enjoy stunning views, sprawling agriculture and the slow, sun-drenched life of local Amalfitans.
Amalfi or ‘the’ Amalfi
Within the Amalfi Coast there is actually a separate town called Amalfi, which can be the cause of some confusion. The two are simple to distinguish though, if you say ‘the’ Amalfi, you are referring to the coastline as a whole, if you just say Amalfi however, people will assume you are talking about the town. This may seem insignificant but it is a helpful tip, especially when it comes to boarding buses and boats.
Where to eat
It can be hard to wade your way through the plethora of gimmicky souvenirs and ubiquitous menu touristicos to find the real jewels of the Amalfi, but the effort is well worth it. Leave the tourist-crammed main drag behind and wind your way through the maze of narrow alleys to discover the best of the Amalfi’s food. Pasticceria Pansa in Amalfi town is known for its delizie al limone, delicious rich cakes made with local lemons. The same juicy lemons are responsible for the beautiful quality limoncello that is served at local restaurants throughout the region.
This limoncello far surpasses the bright yellow, sickly sweet alternatives that you will find in the tourist shops around town. For a fresh, local meal, make your way to Atrani, a fishing village with a delightful trattoria, A’Pranza. When you’re in Positano, try Ristorante Next 2 known for its modern fitout, terrace, cocktail bar and classic local dishes, Sponda – a Michelin starred delight and one of the most sought after dining destinations on the coast, Da Adolfo – perfect for a slow summer lunching, or Da Tommaso allo Scoglio for the freshest seafood and delicious homegrown local produce.
We’re currently celebrating 20 years of local leaders by offering you a chance to win 20 trips in 20 days. Enter the draw to win a spot on our Spirit of Amalfi trip.