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Atrani, a walk to the village

Strait between Mount Civita to the east and Mount Aureo to the west, Atrani extends along the valley of the Dragone river, so-called because legend has it that a terrible fire-breathing dragon was hiding there.

For the beauty of the alleys, the arches, the courtyards, the small squares, the characteristic stairways, the houses, placed one on top of the other, for the evocative atmosphere of the evening, when the lights are on, Atrani has been used several times as a film set for films and commercials, becoming one of the most beautiful villages in Italy.

The first houses face directly onto the beach, and then gather around the small square with the church of San Salvatore and the stone fountain, they go up, finally, towards the valley and climb along the rocky slopes of the hill, crossed by gardens and crops. of lemons.
Isolated from car traffic, protected by its ancient houses with flowered balconies, the piazzetta di Atrani leads directly to the beach and the sea, through the ancient passage created to rescue boats from storm surges.

The origins of Atrani are still unknown today. Archaeological research has established that in the 1st century AD along the Amalfi Coast there were Roman villas, which were, however, covered by the material that, erupted from Vesuvius in 79 AD, had settled on the surrounding mountains and from there, later, had collapsed downstream.
In the 5th century AD, following the barbarian invasions, numerous Romans who fled the city took refuge first on the Lattari Mountains and then along the coasts, where they established stable settlements. The first documentary evidence of the existence of Atrani is represented by a letter from Pope Gregorio Magno to Bishop Pimenio dated 596.

The Duchy of Amalfi extended from Cetara to Positano also including Agerola, Pimonte, Lettere, Capri and the Sirenuse archipelago (Li Galli). Within this territory, Atrani was a village that boasted the title of city, twin city of Amalfi and seat of the aristocracy.
Only the Amalfi and Atranesi had the right to elect or depose the leaders of the Duchy. A symbol of his power was a hat, the Birecto, of which the dukes were honored in the palatine chapel of San Salvatore de Birecto in Atrani.

The Atranesi collaborated in the economic and social development of the duchy. Relevant were the pasta factories and fabric factories that produced sajette and precious drapes, for which the Atranesi held the boast among the coastal centers.

They were particularly active in the eastern extra-duchy area: in Paestum, in Cava de 'Tirreni and in Vietri sul Mare.
The tsunami of 24 September 1343 submerged much of the coast and ended the splendor of Amalfi and Atrani, already proven by the continuous incursions of the Pisans of the twelfth century. In the years that followed, the fate of Atrani was linked to those of Amalfi, whose duchy, now fallen, was incorporated into the principality of Salerno.

The Church of San Salvatore de 'Birecto, the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Maddalena Penitente, the tower of the Ziro and the cave of Masaniello are certainly worth a visit, not far from the family home of the famous head of the Fichi uprising of 1647.

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