The heart and the soul of the coast is Amalfi. Suspended between the slopes of Lattari Mountains and the sea, the picturesque alleys of Amalfi today host a large number of tourists, but there was a time , when the powerful Marine Republic had its moment of maximum splendour between the 10th and the 12th centuries, that they kept the outsiders (Longobards and Saracenes) at bay. In memory of its ancient power every four years, in June, Amalfi holds the "Historic Regatta of the Marine Republics".
The "Duomo" was built in the IX Century, when the Maritime Republic started to impose itself as a commercial power. It was completely restructured in 1230, in accordance with the Arab-Norman influence introduced by the conquerors. The "Duomo" has a superb Romanesque bell tower, completed in 1276, decorated in majolica mosaics, and restored in 1929. Adjacent to the Duomo is the enchanting "Chiostro del Paradiso", of Arab style and decorated with intertwining arches leaning on coupled columns, it dates back to 1266 and preserves within finds of the Roman and Medieval eras.
The magnificent Crypt that preserves the relics of Saint Andrew, patron saint of Amalfi, is also incredibly important. It was built in the XIII century to receive the relics of the saint brought from the East during the Fourth Crusade.
The origins of Positano are lost in the mists of time, so that it is difficult to distinguish between history and myths. One of these myths tells us that Positano was founded by Poseidon - the Latin Neptune, the god of the sea - for the sake of the nymph Pasitea, whom he loved. The Romans built near the beach a rich patrician villa, which has now been buried by gardens and by the church dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption. With the fall of the Roman Empire Positano became a part of the Republic of Amalfi, the first maritime republic, and went through flourishing period, thank to the commerce with the other countries of the Mediterranean area.
In 1700 there was a thriving period as it is shown by many villas in the late Baroque style. The tourism booming started after the Second World War; but, despite of an intense expansion, our village preserve its characteristic vertical structure and its bright architecture with suggestive, panoramique corners.
Famous for its tranquil and serene atmosphere, Ravello offers architectural beauties of rare elegance. The 11th Century Duomo, dedicated to San Pantaleone, is full of artistic treasures like the grand bronze central door adorned with 54 panels. To the right of the Cathedral a square tower marks the entrance to Villa Rufolo. The original structure dates back to the 13th century; and even today some of its arab-sicilian architecture is evident. The polychromatic arabesque colonnade is splendid. Each summer, in the gardens of the villa, the concerts of the Ravello Festival are held. Wagner's inspiration for the Klingsor Garden , in his opera Parsifal, came from the gardens of Villa Rufolo.
Villa Cimbrone was, originally, a simple hut. It was bought in 1904 by Ernest William Beckett who transformed into an exceptionally fascinating Villa. It has hosted many celebrated personalities, from Winston Churchill to Greta Garbo. There is a very special feeling in the cloister of the villa, still showing elements of the ancient arab-sicilian style it was built in. The belvedere is a terrace that gives on to infinity, and has no equal in this world.
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