To celebrate the history of Italy’s Maritime Republics (Amalfi, Pisa, Genova and Venice) each of them take turns in staging an annual regatta. When it’s Amalfi’s turn the town is full of colour and excitement; flags wave from numerous balconies, music is played, invited guests take their seats for the best views, medieval costumes are brought out from the local museum, to be worn by those who make up the glorious procession from Atrani to Amalfi. The sea becomes a living Canaletto with the countless local boats of all types, yachts, rowing boats, fishing boats, rocking gently in the waves, before moving away from the channel where the race will take place.
During the race, the town is animated with cries of encouragement to each of the team’s supporters. I have seen the reaction when our team won; there was a temporary hush before the explosion of fireworks, applause and cheering, supporters jumped fully-clothed into the sea, many of the competitors wept with joy and within minutes cars and scooters took to the roads, tooting their horns all the way to Positano.