Some facts about Amalfi

Amalfi, home of the Sirens, one-time Maritime Republic with settlements throughout most of eastern Europe, in modern times one of the most desirable destinations for tourists and, more importantly, for  many years my home.   Its rich history is celebrated throughout the year in processions with participants wearing copies of brightly coloured medieval costumes and musicians playing ancient themes.   For more serious, religious occasions, walls are lined with flaming torches in place of electric light, making the whole town appear once more as it did centuries ago.   At night-time, fishermen’s lamps bob on the waves  to attract local tuna fish whilst the days filled with sunshine invite everyone to lie on the beaches or take their boats out to sea, where  they can perhaps snooze, read, or chatter quietly with their companions.    The more energetic will be swimming, diving or even just paddling.

For those who prefer the countryside, there are the mountains bordering the coastline.   Overlooking Amalfi from the highest nearby peak, is a delightful little  community founded by the Romans and called Ravello.   Despite its description in the famous writings of Bocaccio,this charming location was made famous by two British ex-pats – Norman Reid, a Scottish botanist and Ernest Beckett,the second Lord Grimthorpe, a Yorkshireman.   Reid built a superb formal garden for his Villa Rufolo, which has become the setting  for the now world famous Festival of Music in the town;  Beckett brought English intellectuals such as the Bloomsbury Group to Ravello and also designed another incomparable garden.   Both villas and gardens are a must to all visitors.

With the Island of Capri visible from the Amalfi Coast and the  unique ruins of Pompeii only one hour away, the area offers a chance for serious study and absorbing historical facts.   Add to this the once highly powerful position of Amalfi with the largest ship-building activity of its time, its ancient trade with distant lands, the delightful climate, excellent food, smiling, friendly inhabitants and beauty all around, it appears to have everything.

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