Oct 9, 2014 First Full Day in Amalfi
Breakfast on the terrace this morning could not have been any better. With a view of the beach on the Tyrrhenian Sea and feeling the warm breeze, I could have sat here all day. Relaxation defined.
I have never stayed in Amalfi, nor spent much time here except in the main square, so I set off to explore. Wandering up the main street I discovered small alleys and streets with a supermarket, ristorantes, ceramic shops, and businesses the local people use, like a barber shop and laundry. The more I walked, the higher the elevation, and although I am far from being physically fit, at least I am in better shape than the last time I came to Italy. The walking on inclined streets did not seem to bother me much at all, which was good since I wanted to walk a lot while in Italy to balance out the calorie intake.
Wandering onto a side road, I asked a local man if there was a view from there. In English he explained that there were just more homes. He walked the same route as I, so we had a conversation which turned out to be a history lesson for me. He was retired, so yes, likely about 75 years old, and he explained that the road ended where we were walking because a river had been there, and bridges were built. By the time we got to the main square, he told me that the sea at one time had come up to the location of St Andrew’s Cathedral.
Then he pointed out the fountain, which had a statue of St Andrew on the top, and ironically had figures which were far from saintly beneath. He said the fountain used to be situated in front of the cathedral but was after moved so it wouldn’t obstruct the traffic flow. Also he explained that the cathedral had been built over a prison. So interesting. I plan on visiting the cathedral on another day, although he kindly offered to act as a guide if I wanted to go now.
He told me that a princess died in that tower in Scala that can be seen high above Amalfi.
This gentleman’s name was Antonio and the conversation was precious to me because I learned something about the local culture. He told me that Amalfi had been one of four republics prior to the Unification of Italy, and that it was quite powerful as the Maritime Republic of all of southern Italy. What I think I will remember the most was what he said about the local Amalfi people. He said that when they die, they know they will go to Paradise and they already live in Paradise.
I then visited the Arsenale on the advice of a Twitter follower.
This ancient place now is used as a venue for musical events. In addition it is a museum and displayed original gold coins called Tari. Some local shops even made jewelry with them.
After returning to my room I did some laundry by hand and caught up on my blog and photo editing. Then in the evening I found the other restaurant recommended by the front desk manager. Da Maria Trattoria had a great margherita pizza. While waiting for it I noticed the decor fit in perfectly with the name of the restaurant. About twenty or so ceramic holy water fonts of Mary decorated the walls.
I love being on the Amalfi Coast. Tomorrow I will take the boat to Capri!