Are you looking for a peculiar place to see during your holiday in Amalfi Coast? Well, we know there are stages of this land you can’t miss, but why you don’t go and live it like a real citizen for once? Someone loves to discover cities as if they were inhabitants, in this way you can smell the real life.
For this reason we suggest you to spend some time in a pretty village of Amalfi Coast, very close to Amalfi, you can go there walking something like 20 minutes through a tunnel. So let’s discover Atrani, the smallest town of Italy.
What to visit in Atrani
You can visit Atrani in a couple hours, you can also stop there for lunch because there are pretty and cheap restaurants. As everything in Atrani, beach is very short but enchanting.
Do a walk in the center, there is a beautiful square that at same time is the old town and the most important part of the village.
Go and lose yourself in the alleys, visit these churches:
- St Salvatore Birecto church,
- La Collegiata di S. Maria Maddalena,
- Santa Maria del Bando
History of Atrani
The origin of the name is still uncertain: many scholars think that it comes from the Latin adjective “ater”, that is dark because this small town is like a cave among high rocks on the sea.
Other scholars think that the name comes from the place from where the first Greek colonisers came, Atria.
The valley del Dragone at whose extremity Atrani is, was an Etrurian community in VII century b.C.. Then there was the arrival
of Greek colonisers. With the fall of the Roman Empire some Roman citizens arrived there and founded the first real community. Atrani was linked to the life of Repubblica Marinara of Amalfi, it was part of the “Confederazione Costiera” with the
function of “twin town”, the place where doges where elected: in the church of San Salvatore in Birecto there was the solemn ceremony of the dressing of the doges.
Doges had to wear the birecto, the ducal cap on which there were the symbols and the signs of power. The doges were buried in that church, too.
During XI century, Roberto il Guiscardo invaded Southern Italy, but some towns of Amalfitana Coast supported the Pope who had organized an anti-Norman alliance. Atrani was sacked by Pisani in 1135 and 1137 and was almost destroyed. In 1222 San Francis of Assisi during a journey through the Coast, stopped in Atrani.
During XIII century, Manfredi sent against the town an army of more than 1000 mercenaries that invaded the town making the inhabitant go away. A tradition tells that only the intercession of Saint Mary Magdalene could defeat the invaders. In the local dialects there are still traces of that domination.
In November 1467, Atrani and Amalfi were united, but on May, the 16th 1578 they divided again because of the frequent abuses by excisemen of Amalfi on foodstuffs. In 1643 there was a terrible plague, many people died; San Michele Church became a burial place and today
this place is still called Lazaretto (lazaret). According to a famous tradition, in 1647 Masaniello, the Neapolitan rebel, whose mother was from Atrani, took refuge in Atrani, in a cave that was not far from his grandparents’ house.
What to eat in Atrani
As Atrani shared the same destiny with Amalfi, we can’t make a real border line, they’re like two siblings always together. So you will find a good Amalfi cuisine also in Atrani, but let’s discover what are the special Atrani dishes.
- the “Sarchiapone” (Sarkeeapona). It is a contemporary dish, because it is only 50 years old. It isn’t like the “colatura di alici” that comes from the Romans, but we wish it could last thousands years too. This dish comes from Calabria, from where mr Vittorio Proto brought it to pay homage to Saint Magdalene. It is a pumpkin and meat based dish. The name comes from an Italian movie from 60s.
- The Pasticciotto atranese. A short pastry, cream and jam based dessert. You can find it in pie or in pastries.
Thank you so much for visiting us, enjoy your trip in Atrani!