Our first day trip on our Italian itinerary was Positano, a picturesque village on the Amalfi Coast. Positano used to be a small fishing village but began to attract tourists in the 1950s after John Steinbeck’s essay in Harper’s Bazaar: “Positano bites deep”, Steinbeck wrote. “It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone.”
Today tourism is the main industry and at this time of year the small town is overrun with visitors, tour buses and kitschy shops. Cameron and I agree that Cinque Terra is a much more walkable and enjoyable Italian city on the water.
We headed down the coast to the town of Amalfi for lunch at The Smeraldino on the Gulf of Salerno. I didn’t love the pasta we were served, it was a bit fishy but the views were beautiful and the wine was cold.
After lunch we climbed the steps of Saint Andrew’s Cathedral which overlooks the Piazza Duomo, the heart of Amalfi.
The cathedral dates back to the 11th century; its interior is adorned in the late Baroque style but the facade is Byzantine. It is an interesting mix of styles and has a rich history as you’d imagine; it reminded me a bit of the Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba.
St. Andrew’s Cathedral claims to hold the relics of Saint Andrew, brought to Amalfi from Constantinople in 1206, and housed in a tomb under the statue of St. Andrew. I find the history of relics to be fascinating – I need to find a good book on the subject (any advice?!)
The Fountain of St. Andrew in the piazza features a lovely mermaid, I tried to dig up some information on her for you but google failed me….
Tomorrow we are off to a local cheese farm where mozzarella is produced from buffalo milk, Ciao!