Before I jump into the facts about Amalfi Coast, let me say that the Italian coast of Amalfi is famous for being one of the most sensational experiences in the country. That in itself is saying something when you compare it to the rest of the richness Italy has to offer. From the cultural enrichment in Tuscany to Venetian canals and the fashion in Milan, Italy is nothing short of a masterpiece.
Named after Hercules’ beloved nymph, Amalfi city lends its name to the spectacular ‘Amalfi Coast’. The Mediterranean coast is situated on the south side of the Sorrento peninsula forming the southern end of the Bay of Naples. The area has been a vacation favorite since the roman era for its amazing scenery, the dramatic views, the attractive seascape and the pretty seaside towns of Vietri Sul mare, Maiori, Minori, Amalfi, Ravello, and Positano.
So, what makes Amalfi one of the highlights of such a stunning place?
The short answer is that you have to be there to live and believe it. Meanwhile, however, here’s a list of things to keep you engaged. So, lean in and let me tell you about some surprising facts about Amalfi Coast you probably didn’t know.
1. Amalfi Coast Drive
Spanning from Sorrento to Salerno (both not part of the actual coast, however), the Amalfi coast drive was built in 150 years and is over 750 years old today.
2. Amalfi as a Republic
The town of Amalfi emerged as an independent Republic upon the fall of the Roman empire. It presided as a key port in the area competing with Genoa and Venice in a trading fleet that controlled the region. The region was prosperous enough to even mint their own coins before the Tsunami of 1343. A tragic plague in the same year followed the devastations. There was so much trauma that the world predicted that the Mediterranean will never be able to rise again.
3. The Greek Connection
The Greek connection is not just limited to the Amalfi but extends to most of the region. The most popular/beautiful beach town – Positano, for example, is also known to be founded by the Greek God Poseidon, God of the Sea, in honor of a nymph the god fancied, Pasitea.
4. Ancient Watch Towers
The ancient watchtowers that add character to the scenic corners everywhere were a key piece in ensuring the safety of the population, once upon a time. Built to defend the coast from the pirates of North Africa, these towers are actually Saracen forts. When the pirates would close in on the small village areas, these 30 forts would light fire atop (usually not all at once) to warn the locals & give them heads-up to move in towards secure centers.
5. Lemon Obsessed
The streets of Amalfi literally smell like Lemon. In fact, lemon is so much in abundance in the area that they made a liqueur out of it. Yes, I’m talking about Limoncello. This century-old Italian beverage is made primarily in the Amalfi coast using the zest of the Sorrento Lemons, also known as Femminello St. Teresa lemons.
6. Cultural Diversity
One of the highlight features of Amalfi is its rich amalgamation of all Mediterranean cultures. So much so that it doesn’t look anything like even the closely situated Naples and the Sorrentine Peninsula. It’s often described as another world–in part because of its successful trade throughout the Mediterranean. Trade made Amalfi rich and made it diverse. The influence is visible to this day. From the streets lined with the pockets of Arab-Sicilian architecture to the domed whitewashed buildings, narrow passageways, and covered walkways are all borrowed techniques compliments of Greece and North Africa.
7. WonderWoman’s Homeland
For the superhero movie fans (& DC Fans / & Feminists), Amalfi Coast is even more specials because the Amazon island of Themyscira in Wonder Woman (2017) was actually shot here. So, yes, you can visit here and say you’ve been to Themyscira!
8. Becoming the UNESCO World Heritage Site
In 1997 the entire Amalfi Coast became part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Owing to the fact that the Costiera Amalfitana is an outstanding example of a Mediterranean landscape, with exceptional cultural and natural scenic values resulting from its dramatic topography and historical evolution.
So, I end my list of facts about Amalfi Coast here for now. Of course, there are many more exciting and amazing things about Amalfi Coast that are waiting to be discovered by you. Have you been to Amalfi Coast already? If you think I may have missed out something super interesting in this list, do share it in the comments below.
Planning to Visit Amalfi Coast soon?
You can check out my detailed travel diary from my Amalfi Coast adventure to help with your planning.
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