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holiday in amalfi coast
holiday in amalfi coast

Holiday in Amalfi Coast

Amalfi is an important town located in Costiera Amalfitana, a stretch of coast in the province of Salerno (Southern Italy); it has an ancient history beginning with its foundation in the sixth century, but it has had its acme during the period between the ninth and the thirteenth century with the leading of the Duchy of Amalfi. It was one of the Italian Maritime Republics, which ruled commerces all over the Mediterranean sea in that time, together with Pisa, Genua, Venice and the less known Ragusa; for this reason if you decide to go on holiday in Amalfi Coast, you must visit this beautiful comune because of the ancient monuments scattered around the city.

The most known place that you have to see is the Saint Andrew's Cathedral, placed right in the center of the city, overlooking Piazza Duomo; this building dates back to the eleventh century, even if it's decorated in the elegant late Baroque style indoors. If you go down into the crypt, you'll be able to see the relics of Saint Andrew, brought there by Cardinal Pietro Capuano after the sack of Constantinople in 1204, during the fourth crusade.

However, the most important thing to see in this town is the Chiostro del Paradiso (Italian for Cloister of Paradise), built by Filippo Augustariccio in the thirteenth century, during Amalfi's peak of importance; it was used as a cemetery, but the only people admitted were from the richest families. As soon as you see it, you'll be astonished by its white pillars that recall Heaven and by its pointed arches, which remind to the Arab world. These pillars are an imitation of the old Romans or Greek ones, but the most original works are certainly the tombs and the sarcophagus commissioned to the most important artists of that time.

In addition, if you're interested in visiting historical places, you should visit the Arsenali della Repubblica (tranlslated as the Arsenal of the Maritime Republic), which is the place where the Duchy of Amalfi's warships were built and stored during the Early Middle Ages. Unfortunetely, the sea has destoyed twelve of its piers, so now only remained ten, divided in two aisles; in spite of this bad luck, the erosion of the sea has spared half of this place, which is now a museum worthy of a visit. If you decide to go in, you'll see ancient architectural and sculptural remains, some model of the old ships and occasionally even an exhibition of visual art.

One last place that must not be ignored is the Museo della Carta, the Handmade Paper Museum, which is set in an old paper mill, where paper was produced since the Early Middle Ages. The roots of this production lie very deep in this city's story; since the XII century, when it was a Maritime Republic, it has had cultural and commercial relationships with the east, in particular Arabia, where paper was already diffused. Althought it was invented in China, the city of Amalfi has the merit of having mechanized the system for its production, lowering its cost and increasing its circulation.

At last, if you decide to have a holiday in this fantastic stretch of coast, in particular in the city of Amalfi, my advice is to rent a villa or an apartment, from which you'll be able to visit all the monument in complete comfort. In fact staying in a house instead of booking a hotel is better because allows you to decide instantly what you'd like to do instead of planning the whole vacation or having a strict timetable.


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