A strip of land that pulses through small, colourful coastal villages nestled next to the blue, green, and indigo of the sea. A myth. An icon. A place suspended in time. This is the Amalfi Coast.
The names of its small villages date back to Roman times and derive from the owners of the aristocratic villas that were dotted along the coast. So the town of Positano owes its name to a freed slave, Posides, who is thought to have built a villa there during Claudius’ reign. And the name of a powerful Roman, Ravelius, is believed to be the source of Ravello, and to have owned a villa in the area; and Amalfi to have come from gens Amarfia.
The names of these small, precious gems of villages have echoed down through the ages in the collective imagination, as references to a place where natural and architectural beauty have competed to draw aesthetic praise. The result? A unique history, and one that will never cease to charm.
Like a platform suspended between the cobalt-blue sea and the slopes of the Lattari mountains, its succession of valleys and promontories are set against a backdrop of small bays, beaches, and citrus, grape and olive-growing terraces. This unique environment is protected by UNESCO as a perfect example of the Mediterranean landscape, and one of enormous cultural and natural value resulting from its geographical features and evolution over time. Its towns and villages are all different, each with its own traditions and peculiarities. Yet all feature unique architecture, including Cetara’s Saracen tower; the Romanesque cathedral in Amalfi and its Chiostro del Paradiso – a cloister with strong oriental influences; the church of San Salvatore de’ Bireto in Atrani, where the investiture ceremony for Amalfi’s dogi took place; and Ravello with its beautiful cathedral and magnificent Villa Rufolo.