Amalfi is a commune of 5.421 inhabitants
of the province of Salerno. It gave its name to the
peninsula on which it is built, the amalfi coast.
The coast is mainly made of rock cliffs. The city itself
is established between cliffs and at the bottom of a throat
coming to the port, and is dominated by the mount Cerreto
goes up with the Romans (its weapons carry the inscription
"Descendit ex patribus romanorum").
In the IXth century,
it becomes one of the marine Republics, competing with
Pisa, Venice and Genoa for the control of the Mediterranean,
doing the trade of cereals, salt and slaves, exporting
structural timber towards Egypt and Syria and importing
in occident silk from the Byzantine Empire. The sailors
of Amalfi, the first of Occident using a compass,
made the fortune of the city.
In the 9th century,
the amalfitan merchants already used a currency
of gold whereas the greatest part of Italy was still
trading with a barter economy.
Also in the middle of the XIth century, the Amalfitans
merchants established in Jerusalem a place at the origin
of the foundation of the order of Malta. The Maritime
law of Amalfi, first of the maritime laws, the "Amalfitan
Tables", had a great influence until the XVIIth century.
Amalfi known its greatest splendour in the eleventh century,
after which it started a fast decline: in 1131 it was
conquered by the Norman and in 1135 and 1137 plundered
by the pisans. In 1343, at the time of a storm, a tidal
wave destroyed a great part of the city.
The most famous monument of
Amalfi is certainly its cathedral (Duomo) in a style
Arabo-Norman and dedicated to its saint patron. Its
construction was started in the XIth century and was
altered many times during the history. It is distinguished
from its imposing frontage, its bronze gates realized
in 1066 in Constantinople, for its very beautiful Cloister
of the Paradise and for the famous perron.
Today, Amalfi is a very touristic city. The beauty
of the natural site, the maze of narrow medieval streets
and the particular mixture of cultural influence come
from all Mediterranean made the city classified at the
world inheritance of UNESCO since 1997.
Amalfi is also known for its
production of lemons of quality and its paper made
by hand, industry of "cartaria" very flourishing in
its history and still alive today.
year a crew of amalfitans sailors takes part in the
Regatta of the maritime Republics by defying the weapons
of its three homologous cities : Venice, Pisa and Genoa.