Amalfi

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The flavors of territory

Art, tradition, cuisine and landscapes. Amalfi, situated on the homonymous coastal known not by chance, as Divine, is an example of the perfect combination of these four elements. In particular, the culinary art and the "good food" found in these areas are most impressive. The choice of a good product, the right way to prepare it, the wisdom of cooking and the attention to the presentation show how to make a dish, like a painting or a monument, so many emotions with the advantage of being eaten. A special conjunction of seafood flavors and gifts of land coupled with the slow passing of time and the stratification of wise habits of housewives make the unique dishes and unmistakable.

 

History of Amalfi

The origins of Amalfi are veiled in legend, founded by the hero Hercules, who on this beach buried his beloved Amalfi, the nymph with eyes the colour of the sea, but it was the more practical inhabitants of Scala who founded it in the VI century. In December 839 , the free Republic of Amalfi was born, independent untill 1137, the Republic of Amalfi was united under the “shield of silver, banded with red” an ample territory that spread from Stabia, Tramonti and Chiunzi on the inland side, and from Cetara to Positano on the coast, with the island of Capri and the adjacent seas. In less than two centuries the Duchy of Amalfi grew to become the main commercial and military strength in the high Tyrrhenian, and Amalfi “ the most prosperous, noble and illustrious city of the Longobards” as the Arab traveller , Ibn Havcal, declared in 977, an important cosmopolitan centre according to Guglielmo of Puglia ( end of the XI century) …”here lived the best navigators of the times and merchants arrived from all over the known world”. Wherever the Amalfi people went to trade they founded colonies and embassies; at Alexandria in Egypt, Tunis, Cyprus, Byzantium and even in India. In these territories: the Tarì of Amalfi, made of gold or bronze, was an international currency; navigation was ruled by the “Tabule Amalphitane” and the Chinese compass and the Egyptian Astrolabe that were little known elsewhere were frequently used. Towards the end of the XVIII century, the Amalfi coast was “discovered” as a place of sojourn and study by the Great Romantic voyagers, mostly Germans and English. Attracted by the un-violated nature and the customs of the population, an interest in the history and the myths of Masaniello and Duchess Giovanna, the coast was again at the centre of the cultural, artistic and economic life of Europe. After the cultural Avant Garde, the disaster of the two wars, the next appointment was at the end of the fifties and the beginning of the sixties: when the Dolce Vita (sweet life) exploded on the scene and summers were spent between Capri, Amalfi and Positano.

Actors, film directors, artists and adventurers of every type populated the Amalfi Coast, great love stories and scenes of jealousy, works of art, and Positano fashions held sway…
Many of these visitors were enamoured of the coast and bought Villas; Roberto Rossellini inaugurated a series of films set in the area, using local people as actors.

 

Monuments

Instead of using the term Cathedral, it would be more correct to speak of a monumental complex, as it is made up of several autonomous parts that are colligated together. The oldest structure is certainly the Basilica of SS .Crocifisso, built in 833. Another church was built beside it in 987, to form one majestic Cathedral with six naves, that in the Baroque era was divided into two churches. The Bell-tower was started in 1180 and finished in 1276; in 1206 the Crypt was constructed to hold the Sacred Remains of St. Andrew Apostle. The last building to be built was the Cloister of Paradise between 1266 and 1268.

In perfect Romanesque- Amalfitan Style, it was built between 1266 and 1268 by order of Archbishop Filippo Augustariccio as a cemetery for the Nobles of Amalfi. Interesting the structure of entwined arches resting on 120 marble columns and the play of light created by sun-rays amongst the arabesque of arches.

 

Events

The Historical Regatta

This is an event of an eminently historical and cultural nature, it began in December 1954 to recall the fortunate vicissitudes of the Four Maritime Republics of Italy, from X to the XVIII century free city states that wrote centuries of history, not only that of Italy but for all the countries that face the Mediterranean. The first Regatta was held at Pisa. Since then every year taking it in turns on the sea of Amalfi and Genoa or on the river Arno at Pisa or the lagoon of Venice.

 

Typical dishes

Scialatielli Amalfi Style

Ingredients (for 4 people)

- for the scialatielli:
400gr. of flour; 3, basil leaves; several spoons of Extra- virgin olive oil; a pinch of grated cheese; 100 gr. of milk; a pinch of pepper and salt;

- for the condiment: 
600 gr. of clams, tartufi, mussels; 150 gr. of shelled shrimps; 250 gr. of small cuttlefish; 250 gr. of piennolo tomatoes; 20 gr. of green olives and capers; a drizzle of olive oil; 2-3 cloves of garlic, abundant parsley.

Preparation:
With the flour and milk make a pastry and gradually add the finely chopped basil, the olive oil, the grated cheese, a pinch of pepper and salt. Leave the pastry to repose for about thirty minutes and then roll out with a rolling pin, cut into small, thin strips and cook in boiling water.

While the scialatielli boil, in a large frying pan heat the oil and the chopped garlic until golden and then add the seafood, shrimps, and the cuttlefish cut into small pieces, add tomatoes and leave to cook for a few minutes then add the olives and capers.
Drain the pasta well before it becomes too soft and add to the sauce, cook together for a minute or two, then sprinkle with plenty of chopped parsley and serve straight away.

Limoncello

The correct name is “sfusato amalfitano”, a unique variety of its type, long and tapered and at least double the size of other lemons, with a thick and wrinkled skin that has an intense perfume, and a sweet and juicy flesh that is practically without pips.
Cultivated in the typical terraced gardens along the entire Amalfi coast, they are gathered from February to October and since 1999 they have obtained the I.G.P. (Indication Geographically Protected). A good limoncello:

1litre of fine alcohol
1litre of water
500gr. of sugar
the peel of 6-7 large lemons, if possible freshly picked. Wash the lemons well, peel them removing the pith from the rind, then put the lemon peel in an infusion of alcohol for about ten days. When the ten days have passed, boil the water and add the sugar until it dissolves then add the alcohol (throw away the peel) filter the liquid and bottle it.