History of Atrani


See Atrani guide for highlights and historic monuments

Atrani was formerly a Greek and then an Etruscan emporium, then from the 6th century the village became part of the Republic of Amalfi.

Its church was invested with the office of the Dukes of the Republic, who were also buried here.

From the mid-11th century Atrani had various rulers, such as the Normans, Swabians, French and Spanish. Atrani was sacked in 1135 and in 1137 by Pisa, and later, King Manfredi moved a Saracen colony to the town, which were then chased out by Charles of Anjou.

As thanks for the expulsion of the Muslim community, the Atrani inhabitants consecrated the ancient church of the castle  to “Santa Maria Maddalena”. During this period the history of the village is indistinguishable from that of Amalfi.

At the time of the Republic, Atrani was then inhabited by the most noble families of the region, and Atrani is the coastal town that has best preserved the ancient characteristics, with houses overlooking the sea and gathering around the square, then spreading up the cliffs of the mountain.

In 1734, the Bourbon Dynasty gave a major impetus to the city building and along the Dragone River there rose some paper mills, textile factories and especially pasta factories. The “pasta” of Atrani was very  famous, and local merchants sold it in neighbouring regions, as far as Calabria.

Origins of the name Atrani

Atrani would seem to have a quite transparent etymology, and most scholars opt for the simplest solution, namely that Atrani derives from the Latin word "Ater" (“dark”). In fact, in the 'Engineering Geology (Elsevier Pub. Co., 1993: 197, note)' it is said that:

"[...] According to historical sources, the name Atrani derives from the Latin ‘Atrum’ ( Neuter noun of the adjective 'Ater'), Meaning a dark, sombre place [...]".

Some other hypothesis have also been advanced regarding Atrani's etymology, suggesting that Atrani was an Etruscan family name; in this sense in the “Etruscan Studies” (Olschki, 1970:.312) it was said that

"[... ] The noble name 'Atran' is already known in Perugia. It is also certified as a trademark (in the forms 'Atran' and 'Atrani') of a series of 'askoi' (Greek vases used for oil), some from Perugia [...]".

See the Atrani for the travel guide.