Photo of Amalfi

Visit Amalfi

Amalfi is a popular town centrally placed on the equally popular - and very scenic - Amalfi Coast, just south of Sorrento. As well as the general appeal of the village and its location you can also see a lovely cathedral in the town.

Explore Amalfi

Italy This Way review: Amalfi is in a very impressive location, below Monte Cerreto that rises steeply behind the town and on the beautiful Amalfi Coast. It is the largest of the towns on this part of coast, and has several attractions to admire over and above the general setting.

Start exploring with a stroll along the attractive streets, lined with whitewashed houses that often contain restaurants and boutiques.

Finding your way around is straightforward, with the marina to the south, the cathedral square just behind the harbour, and a main street called Via Lorenzo d'Amalfi continuing north from the square.

The tourist office is in Piazza Municipio, 100 metres east of the cathedral, and most of the streets of the old town are within a couple of hundred metres of these central points.

Amalfi cathedral

The main square in the town and the centre for a visit is the square with Amalfi cathedral, Piazza Duomo (not a surprising choice of name since duomo is Italian for cathedral).

The 11th century Saint Andrew's Cathedral is a very striking building at the top of a flight of steps that lead up from the square, with the facade almost entirely in a very distinctive striped style - although this particular version is actually a 19th century reconstruction of the original, but you wouldn't know it to see it!

This striped style of church architecture has Arabic and Norman origins. The tower with its glazed majolica roof is also very distinctive. The Byzantine facade includes a large fresco of Saint Andrew. Admire the 11th century bronze doors that were brought here from Constantinople then step inside.

The interior of Amalfi cathedral is in baroque style and there are some large paintings and statues in marble and bronze to admire as well as 12th century mosaics. The relics of Saint Andrew are housed in the crypt.

The 13th century Chiostro del Paradiso (the cloisters next to the cathedral) owe their style as much to the Arab world as to the European cloisters that they also resemble. They contain a selection of interesting remains dating in part back to Roman times, and in the 13th century were where the noble families of Amalfi were buried.

After visiting Amalfi cathedral and cloister, you will want to enjoy a coffee break in the square in front of the cathedral before exploring Via Lorenzo d'Amalfi, the street that leads north (away from the sea) from the square.

 
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This street is very narrow, traditional and picturesque, with lots of small shops and galleries selling everything from fine arts and local pottery to sandwiches and local produce so something for everybody.

Despite the shops, the Via Lorenzo d'Amalfi (and the Via Pietro Capuano) has retained its original charm and you can see the cliffs above Amalfi at the end of the street

There are also a couple of small museums here and the Arsenal near the waterfront sometimes has interesting art exhibitions but otherwise you are now free to spend the rest of your visit to Amalfi just strolling around, window-shopping and spending an unnaturally long time having lunch!

Once you have explored the town you can head to the beach which is always busy in the summer and mostly given over to pay areas. You can catch a ferry or hydrofoil from the harbour to Salerno, Positano, Capri and Ischia.

History of Amalfi

From the 6th century until the 14th century Amalfi was a very large and important Italian port town. The decline began in the 12th century when the town was besieged and changed hands a couple of times, including once by King Roger of Naples in 1131.

It's fate was then sealed by an earthquake and tsunami that hit Amalfi in 1343 and destroyed much of the lower town, transforming a large town of 70000 residents into a village with just a few thousand residents.

The town was never to regain its earlier importance, and has remained a quiet harbour town since that date - until the arrival of tourism in the 20th century.

Amalfi beach

Places to visit near Amalfi

Atrani, a little way to the east, is also attractive and much less visited than Amalfi and easily reached on foot. There is a pedestrian tunnel that passes through the mountain between the two towns, and leaves from near the main square in Amalfi, and is more pleasant than trying to navigate the busy road along the coast).

From the port in Amalfi (also in the town centre) you can take boat trips along coast around the town as well as trips to visit the nearby islands. Several options are available and always all of them are very picturesque - let your budget be your guide!

There are also several walks that leave from Amalfi and head into the hills behind the town.

The Smeraldo Cave (Grotta dello Smeraldo) is a few kilometres outside the town, and can also be reached by boat from Amalfi. A lift takes you down to the grotte itself, where a boat will carry you across the deep green water.

A little further and the whole of the Amalfi Coast is worth exploring both for the villages and for the scenery. While Sorrento is a common base to explore the region you could also consider Salerno to the east as a more down-to-earth alternative.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Campania guide.

See also: 

Photos of Amalfi

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Map of Amalfi and places to visit

 
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Amalfi places to visit

Amalfi cathedral

Amalfi cathedral

Amalfi cathedral has ancient origins, and elements of baroque, renaissance and Arab-Norman architecture

Amalfi cathedral guide
Atrani

Atrani

Atrani is a pretty village next to Amalfi in the heart of the Amalfi coast

Atrani guide
Amalfi coast

Amalfi coast

The Amalfi Coast has one of the most lovely coasts in Europe

Amalfi coast guide
Villa Cimbrone

Villa Cimbrone

Villa Cimbrone is a historic villa in Ravello on the Amalfi coast, with remarkable views from its belvedere

Villa Cimbrone guide
Villa Rufolo

Villa Rufolo

Villa Rufolo is a villa in Ravello with beautiful gardens and views across the Mediterranean

Villa Rufolo guide
Ravello

Ravello

Ravello is best known for its villas and gardens with stunning coastal views

Ravello guide

...or see all our recommended places to visit in Campania

 
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