The Amalfi Coast takes its name from what is an authentic gem, reach of unmissable monuments, postcard landscapes and, above all, a long past to tell.
The history of Amalfi cross the centuries and is full of wars, dominations and commercial successes; the town, in fact, was one of the most important Maritime Republics in Italy, together with Pisa, Genoa and Venice. Its strategic position on the gulf has made it an easy object of attacks many times, but , as well, has certainly facilitated the merchant exchanges. It is also thanks to this that the splendid Amalfi has preserved, especially in art and architecture, a thousand different traces of the dominations and events that have taken place in its territory. The tourist who comes in this area will soon realize that visiting Amalfi is the same of making a beautiful journey through history. So let’s find out what to see in Amalfi: all the best places not to be missed in the pearl of the Amalfi Coast.
Amalfi, what to see in a week-end
A trip to the Amalfi Coast can only start from the town that gives its name to the whole area. Amalfi boasts an elegant and lively historic center, full of places where to stop and taste the delightes of the territory and of small boutiques where to have shopping. In addition, it is full of suggestive corners to explore and is not far from other must-see locations on the coast.
Let’s discover Amalfi more closely with many suggestions on what to see and how to spend a fabulous holiday.
Duomo of Amalfi
The first step can only be this. We are in front of one of the most instagrammable monuments in Italy, as well as a destination for thousands of visitors every year. The famous Cathedral of Sant’Andrea, in Amalfi, has very ancient roots: it seems to have been built before the year 1000, when it was joined to another church that was very close. The facade of the Cathedral is unmistakable: different traits and styles come together in what is a true masterpiece of Byzantine art and architecture, but also Romanesque and Moorish. The interiors, instead, definitely represent the kingdom of the Baroque. Inside the underground crypt, that you can access from the Basilica of the Crucifix, joined to the Cathedral, there are the remains of Saint Andrea, patron saint of the city.
Cloister of Paradise
Once you have been enchanted by the facade and internal decorations of the Cathedral of Sant’Andrea, the next suggestion on what to see in Amalfi can only be the Cloister of Paradise, which can be accessed from the church atrium. It is a beautiful portico, supported by dozens of arches and columns in perfect Moorish style. It was built in the middle of the thirteenth century to house the remains of noble and illustrious citizens (that’s why is called “Cloister of Paradise”). The cloister, that used to be a cemetery, housed some sarcophagi and funerary chapels. The chapels can still be visited and, in particular, the beautiful frescoes on the walls are appreciated. At the center of the cloister there is a lush garden populated by palm trees and other species.
Fountain of Sant’Andrea
Immediately in front of the Cathedral, you can admire the other symbol of Amalfi: the fountain of Sant’Andrea. The masterpiece shows, in fact, the patron saint of the city surrounded by four angels, the fish Pulicano and a dove.
The fountain was recently the subject of a big restoration that involved both the monument and the internal water system, and which returned it to citizens and tourists in 2018 more beautiful and majestic than ever.
Ancient Arsenal of the Amalfi Republic
Let’s say you have little time available, what to see in Amalfi in one day? After the Cathedral of Sant’Andrea, our advice is to go to the monument that celebrates the maritime power of Amalfi: the Antico Arsenale. This is the impressive shipyard where the ships used by population were built. The Ancient Arsenal of the Amalfi Republic had several renovations over the years; among these, one of the most important saw the creation of the Compass Museum and the one dedicated to Maritime Art, which tells the story of the glorious past of the city.
Did you know that a very precious type of paper is produced in the pearl of the Amalfi Coast? This is the so-called Bambagina paper (or Amalfi paper), obtained from the processing of hemp and flax.
Among the things to see in Amalfi we recommend a tour in what is a real institution for the city and for the whole region: the Paper Museum. Housed in an old paper mill that remained in operation until a few decades ago, the museum exhibits a large collection of machinery, tools, photographs and testimonies that tell the story and secrets of this art.
Nativity scene at the Arch of Faenza
Perhaps not everyone knows that on the Amalfi Coast is usual to find some beautiful handcrafted nativity scenes displayed all the year in the streets of the historic centers. Therefor, you cannot miss a visit to the Nativity scene at the Arco della Faenza, located in a suggestive point of the city center. The nativity scene is in fact built on a rocky wall which is located between a school and an arch. The work is a representation of a small urban agglomeration populated by stone houses and the classic small statues for which Campania craftsmanship is famous all over the world.
Torre dello Ziro
What to visit in Amalfi if not one of the many watchtowers present in the territory of the Amalfi Coast? That’s right: towers and fortresses built for defensive purposes are quite frequent in the area and are linked to the commercial and expansionist past of the region. In fact, the story of Joan of Aragon, queen of Naples, is linked to the Torre dello Ziro as that, five centuries ago, she was imprisoned here and killed with her children, because she was guilty of betraying her husband’s memory.
The Torre dello Ziro is surrounded by nature. You can reach it with a nice walk along the paths inside the Valle delle Ferriere, which will take you to one of the most beautiful views of the coast.
What to see around Amalfi
All the main small towns of the Amalfi Coast are close to each other.
Amalfi is located in a truly privileged position from which it is easy to move around to explore the surroundings. So, if you have a few more days to spend in these parts, be aware that you will be really close to some of the most beautiful towns and villages on the Amalfi Coast.
We suggest a visit to Ravello, Atrani and Conca dei Marini, on the border with Amalfi. Ravello will enchant you with the fabulous views which you can enjoy from the beautiful terraces of Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone. In Atrani do not miss a visit to the splendid Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Maddalena, with its characteristic majolica dome. Finally, in Conca dei Marini, fall in love with the green waters which, together with stalactites and stalagmites, form the wonderful Emerald Grotto.
What to eat in Amalfi
After having discovered what to see in Amalfi let’s dedicate ourselves to the delights of the kitchen.
As in the rest of the Amalfi Coast, and Campania in general, here too you can have a real taste of varied Mediterranean cuisine. In this regard, it is impossible not to mention the fresh Scialatielli, a typical shape of fresh and homemade pasta to be served with clams or seafood sauce. The Scialatielli all’Amalfitana is the main dish of all the restaurants in the area.
The other ingredient that stands out in the menus of the Amalfi restaurants is definitely the lemon: a lot of desserts are prepared according to recipes that celebrate the aroma and strong flavor of Amalfi lemons. As well as one of the most famos speciality of the area, the limoncello liqueur and the limoncello cream, to which it is impossible to say no at the end of a rich meal.
Where to eat in Amalfi and what to do in the evening
Does not matter what time it is, you will certainly not get bored in Amalfi. Like other coastal towns, the center of Amalfi is also full of clubs, bars and disco pubs where you can enjoy tasty aperitifs or an after-dinner drink while listening to excellent music.
There are obviously a lot of restaurants, pubs and pizzerias, with menus with a wide range of dishes that include both the most refined recipes and the most typical ones. The proposals are many and suitable for all budgets. Among the many places where you can stop, TripAdvisor users report, for example, the Sensi Restaurant, Baglio Amalfi Italian Bistrot and Rua Pizze e Delizie.
How to get around in Amalfi
We complete our guide on what to see in Amalfi with some tips on how to get around, once in the area.
As already mentioned, Amalfi is not far from some of the most evocative villages of the coast, but also from other larger and unmissable cities such as Sorrento and Positano.
For those interested in discovering what to see in Amalfi and its surroundings, we suggest an excellent options for exploring the area.
Our tip is to ride a scooter, which is the best way to get from one location to another without stress and / or parking problems. For those who come on holiday from afar, renting a scooter represents a practical, convenient and economical solution to visit one after another the most beautiful destinations of the Sorrento Peninsula and the Amalfi Coast and be able to fully enjoy the freedom of movement that the vehicle can assure.The scooter also allows you to move easily in the small historical centers characterized by narrow and uphill streets, typical of many towns in the region.
In this regard, you can have a look to our suggestions regarding some perfect itineraries to try on a scooter or motorbike for an unforgettable road trip.
On the website Sorrento Trips you will find many convenient and safe proposals, as well as all the information you need to proceed with the choice and rental of your own means of transport.