Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast, Italy

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At the time of the Republic founded in 839, the Amalfi territory ranged from Cetara to the mountains of Scala, Sunsets and Agerola, by stabiano territory Letters, Pimonte and Gragnano to the island of Capri. Its borders were manned by castles and fortifications whose ruins are visible near population centers, half-height between the sea and the ridges of the mountains. Along the coast, a series of watch towers remembers the raids of Turkish pirates. Today the site of the UNESCO area includes fifteen municipalities (Amalfi, Atrani, Cetara, Conca dei Marini, Corbara, Furore, Maiori, minors, Positano, Praiano, Ravello, Sant'Egidio del Monte Albino, Scala, Tramonti, Vietri sul Mare), in a territory whose extraordinary natural and environmental features are the backdrop for historical and artistic treasures that represent the identity of the origin: by Roman villas of Minori and Positano in the first century d.C. public and private architecture medieval, by precious artifacts of gold and craft kept in churches and museums, the natural wonders of the Valle dei Mulini. With its majolica domes, teaches a ceramic crafts world famous, Vietri sul Mare opens (or closes, for those who come to Sorrento) the number of countries that make up the territory of the Coast. Suspended between sky and sea, Ravello breathe a past atmosphere: with the art treasures of its ancient churches, the infinite visions of Villa Cimbrone, the magic of Villa Rufolo, already admired by Boccaccio, that celebrated in the Decameron. In the tiny Atrani, embedded in the Dragone Valley, It took place the ceremony of investiture of the Amalfi doges, while on the road that from Amalfi climbs into the "painted village" of Furore, the village of Conca dei Marini is recognizable by the barrel vaults of the white seventeenth-century building situated on a rocky promontory. Finally Amalfi, in which the celebrities of the Duomo, that acts as a backdrop to the square theater, It opposes the Arab town, by the secret alleys, doorways and porches lime biancheggianti. fantastic architecture of loggias, stairs and stairways that intersect in a risky geometries game, plots of buildings that seem to remain suspended by chance and they did say to Le Corbusier "You can not, but it exists ".

UNESCO admission criteria

The World Heritage Committee decided to include this on the basis of criteria (ii), (iv) e (v), considering that the Amalfi Coast is an outstanding example of Mediterranean landscape, with a backdrop of great natural and cultural value due to its spectacular features and its historical evolution.

History, art and culture

The origins of Amalfi are shrouded in legend. Numerous, indeed, are the myths related to its foundation, and all revolve around the Roman descent, It demonstrated also by the archaeological finds of imperial age. Amalfi The name is of Latin extraction and safe or derives from Melfi, a Lucan seaside village abandoned by some Roman refugees in the fourth century A.D., or the name of a Roman gens of the first century d.C. (Amarfia). Following the Germanic invasions of the fifth century A.D., many Roman refugees from the city bells, now prey to the barbarian hordes, They took shelter on the Lattari Mountains and transformed the small village of Amalfi in a city, which it was already a bishopric in the year 596. Amalfi and territory belonged Coast, until the first part of the ninth century, the Romanesque-Byzantine Duchy of Naples, from which it is definitively parted the 1 September 839, creating an autonomous republic in order to defend the maritime commerce of Amalfi from the attacks of the Lombards of Benevento. At first it was ruled by elected annually Conti, then from Prefetti and finally by Dukes who transformed it into a kind of ducal monarchy. Since the eighth century the people of Amalfi had settled in the major port cities in the Mediterranean in "virtual colony", consist of housing, workshops, fondachi, churches, monasteries, hospitals, which is administered by the laws of the motherland. The role of Amalfi in the medieval Mediterranean policy was mediating between civilizations opposite to each other, such as Arabic, the Byzantine and Roman-Germanic West.

The Commerce

The triangular trade of Amalfi in the Middle Ages took place touching Italy, Arab North Africa and the Empire of Byzantium. The ships sailed in Amalfi at a time of Arab centers of the African coast timber loads to sell in exchange for gold. In a second phase they went along the Syro-Palestinian coast and in Byzantium, where they bought spices, precious stones, fine fabrics, of gold objects in a third phase resold in most of Italy, going so far as to Ravenna and from there, navigating the Po, even in Pavia. This cycle of the triangular trade amalfitano greatly enriched the inhabitants of the maritime republic to the point that they planned to conquer enemy powers. So Amalfi finally lost its independence in 1131, when he became part of the Norman Kingdom of Sicily. But its economic prosperity and maritime power does not eclipsed; Amalfi was actually exceeded in trade and maritime activities by new competing powers, such as Pisa and Genoa. The real Amalfi economic crisis in the Middle Ages is to be found in the war fought between Angevin and Aragonese following which Amalfi and its territory suffered the Catalan competition and were subjected to famine, pestilences, depopulation.

The navy

Amalfi throughout the Middle Ages had a large and powerful fleet, distinguished between the military and the mercantile. The navy turned over again victorious especially in battles against the Arabs in defense of Christianity. For the construction of warships from Amalfi had a masonry arsenal of which today remain two lanes divided by ten pillars. original building were constructed hulls combat galleys, set of one hundred and twenty oars. The merchant ships were built on the beaches indicated by the Byzantine term Scaria. The scarium medieval Amalfi is now under the sea in front of the city, submerged as a result of a submarine landslide caused by a powerful storm Libeccio. Of Amalfi seafaring history remain today, in addition to the arsenal, maritime code called Tabula de Amalpha and the invention of the compass tradition. The code is stored in a seventeenth-century paper copy at the Museum, was developed between the eleventh and fourteenth centuries and its chapters contain surprising news about the advanced and progressive society marinara Amalfi. It is now certain that the people of Amalfi were the first to invent the compass which magnetic fishing guiding tool "dry", and that the spread in the Mediterranean within the first half of the thirteenth century.


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