You Must See Amalfi – Grottos, Duomo & Lemons

In a rare surprise we find Amalfi exceeds its hype. With pirate type grottos to the historic Duomo, we are captivated. Here we give you a quick view of our highlights

In a surprising twist of truth, we discover that the Amalfi Coast actually lives up to the hype and it is everything it is marketed to be – and more. 

Amalfi’s Grotto & Cave Laced Coastline

We sailed our catamaran Waiata from Salerno to Amalfi.  It is a crazily busy coastline mostly populated with lots of small tourist boats that whizz people back and forth to the grottos and caves along the coastline.  

The south Italian coastline around Amalfi is a visual delight. Picturesque and colorful in the extreme, it boasts a jagged, almost serrated coastline that is laced with swimmable blue grottos and weather carved caves.  There are many beautiful bays and the raggedy cliff tops conjure up  imaginings  of cliff divers with great chests doing triple backward somersaults into the sapphire Tyrrhenian Sea below. And yes, the sky really is that blue too.  No doubt in times gone by this enchanting coast would have provided plenty of hiding places for sailors, smugglers and pirates.  

The cram packed Amalfi town waterfront

Visual Feast from the Sea

We  had already been charmed and enchanted with the town because  the coastal approach is so stunning.  Many people rave about the beauty of driving this special piece of South Italian coast, but to see it from the sun shining on an azure Tyrrhenian sea was a visual feast.  

We could hardly believe it. There was a perfect spot where we were able to anchor in prime real estate.  We parked Waiata equidistant – under an ancient coastal tower that once upon a time protected Amalfi’s population from frequent pirate raids, and in front of the umbrella and cocktail laden bars that jam the waterfront. You can check out where we anchored here 

You can take a view of our Amalfi anchorage here

Amalfi Really Looks Like the Postcards

Amalfi is a fairy tale, picture postcard kind of place.  The coast ribbons for 34 miles (54 km) and is named after the picturesque and colourful town that bears its name.  

The colourful Amalfi coast

Amalfi town is the primary historical and political centre of this UNESCO world heritage listed coast. It has held it’s attraction since the 1800’s and been a magnet for modern jet setters, attracting magazine cover musicians and pin up movie stars. . Known as the ‘divine coast’, it has been the famous and iconic location of many great novels and movies from Steinbeck to Fellini.  

For this super hero fan, Amalfi was the 2017 film location of Wonder Woman’s island of Themyscira.  Of course, the fictional “Wonder Woman” is an Amazonian princess with an invisible plane and the lasso of truth!  And this is her kind of place. The blend of landscape and breathtaking terrain that is scattered with beauty makes Amalfi a location that is both fantastical and of fantasy, and part of our reality.  It is a living breathing film set of a destination.

St Andrew is at The Duomo

Amalfi’s cliffs soar out of the sea but the main town square is dominated by the medieval Roman Duomo (cathedral) with it’s soaring off centre tower.

The Duomo tower soars into the sky

The relics of the Apostle Saint Andrew are said to be interred here. The Duomo’s front facade is striped marble and stone with open arches that have lace detailing not commonly found in sacred Italian styled  architecture. 

Climbing the Duomo’s 62 step wide grand staircase, you are greeted at the top by a magnificent set of immense bronze doors dating from c. 1061.  Cast in Constantinople (now Istanbul)), they are certainly impressive. 

The bronze Duomo Doors with the shiny gold face of St Andrew clearly visible left

In the center of the door are four figures said to represent Christ, the Virgin Mary, St Peter and St. Andrew.  There is one really shiny gold patch about the size of a 50 cent piece on the doors that really stands out.   If you look at the second panel from the left, above the lion’s head handles you can clearly see it.

The reason that this particular face is shiny gold and stands out is that it is the face of Saint Andrew – because to rub the face of St Andrew (Andreas) is meant to being good luck, and as you now know, his relics are said to be interred here. 

Sweet Amalfi Lemons

I am not one for buying souvenirs. Personally the memories and stories are more important to me. But you need to know that lemons are thoroughly and deeply an Amalfi thing.

The plethora of souvenir shops are laden with with everything from all forms of ceramics painted with lemons through to fridge magnets and snow globes all bragging about this magnificent fruit.  There are dresses, shirts, ties and aprons all with a dizzying variety of lemon printed fabrics -or you can choose to dress your table with table cloths and napkins and lemon themed linens

But of course most importantly is the lovely delectable lemony limoncello.  

The history and origination of authentic limoncello is steeped in many legends.  Its creation is  disputed by Sorrento, Amalfi and Capri, much like the birth of pavlova is disputed between New Zealand and Australia.  But one thing is clear, the lemons of this region are held in the highest regard. Whether they are used to make lemon cake, lemon sorbet, lemonade or infused in  extra virgin olive – Amalfi lemons are special, and Amalfi will not leave a sour taste in your mouth.  

Waiata our boat is just over my right shoulder – she was the biggest boat in the bay that day

Sweet Experience

We’ve had such a special and sweet experience here and it has been better than we ever imagined.  We  hope that if visiting Amalfi is also on your dream list, that you make it here too.  Whether by road or boat, there is so much to see, experience and taste.  

Amalfi’s road tunnels are a good drive – but arriving by boat is also great

“Lemon Tree” by The Beatles

” I wonder how
I wonder why
Yesterday you told me ’bout the blue blue sky
And all that I can see is just a yellow lemon-tree”

Lemon Tree – the Beatles can sing about almost anything it seems

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