Here we are in Amalfi, on the next leg of our imaginary journey. These days it is a small town, but it has made its mark on our country’s history, especially our seafaring history.
Talking about seafaring history, it was in Amalfi, in the 13th century, that the compass was invented.
To be honest, I didn’t know that either! Also, as you may recall, Amalfi was one of the Maritime Republics.
We talked about it when we were in Genoa…
Throughout its history, Amalfi has always been commercially and culturally important – at the heart of trade between the people of the Tyrrhenian and the East. It is no accident that the entire coastline bears its name – the Amalfi Coast no less. This splendid peninsula stretches out into the sea, reaching as if to take back the Island of Capri, just there in the distance – another fascinating place which we absolutely recommend you visit, obviously wearing a virtual pair of MarcoMoreo.
The Amalfi Coast is one of 55 Italian sites included in the Unesco World Heritage List. Rising up between the sea and the slopes of the Lattari mountains, it is a succession of promontories, small valleys, coves and panoramic terraces planted with citrus fruits, vines and olive trees. It is the most fascinating epitome of the Mediterranean, with its fragrances, the shimmering sea, lush vegetation and an atmosphere that is truly special.
But let’s get back to our Amalfi. The wonderful square, the piazzetta, is dominated by the Cathedral. Its narrow streets nestle between aristocratic palaces, churches and monasteries, towers and convents; it is effectively an open-air museum. Amalfi is also home to the very famous tradition of map-making. As early as the 13th century, much sought-after, hand-made maps were created using techniques of Arab origin which were then improved upon by local draftsmen. Just imagine if this email had been written to you on this exquisitely fine paper, its edges all irregular because they are still cut by hand. Very chic.
We conclude our visit by stopping for cake in a pasticceria. I choose a small, rum-soaked babà, and a delicious sfogliatella. I can’t decide between shortcrust pastry or the crinkly, mille-feuille version, they are both filled with ricotta, it’s really hard to choose…
Refreshed and happy, we are ready to resume our journey. See you for the next leg when we will be taking you to Sicily.
With love from Italy!