A slit of glamour for a chosen few. Atrani's feature make it resemble much to an earthly Olympus, allegedly being the smallest inhabited centre of Southern Italy and yet being one of the most beautiful villages of Italy's borghi più belli d'Italia. Throughout its history it was inevitably chosen by the elites, during the Republic of Amalfi, it was a privileged resort and even in later times many artists, such as Ibsen, Wagner and Escher chose to spend some time in this beautiful curvy spot of the Coast. Atrani's architecture was a natural defence against invasions and sacks. Furthermore the secluded nature of Atrani allowed locals to keep a strong identity and to this day Atranesi are a very tight-knight community that willingly stands up to any comparison with the close and very famous Amalfi. The village is a maze of small alleyways, arches and squares where local and tourists gather in the beautiful summer evenings. A stay in Atrani implies getting accustomed to going up and down steps and hills, as everything is built vertically on the edge of the hill. Some say that Atrani is one of the most beautiful spots of the Coast, the sea, the village and its people make it a perfect mix for an unforgettable stay.
Legend and history
Atrani is situated between Mount Civita and Mount Aureo along the bay of the Dragon river.
Legend says that a fire-breathing dragon lived in the waters of the river where Atrani developed. This could explain the fiery temperament of Atranesi.
Allegedly after receiving a harsh punishment by king Manfredi, outsiders were scared to even come to Atrani as locals had apparently become extremely hard-hearted. On the contrary to prove local liveliness, at the beginning of the century one day they decided to have an Atrani version of Corrida and closed up all accesses to free a bull, which was eventually defeated and its meat shared equally among the village! Although there were some archeological findings of Roman villas, the first historical evidence of Atrani was found in a 596 a.D letter addressed by the Pope Gregorio Magno to the bishop Pimenio. Following to the above mentioned royal punishment, which consisted in the organised invasion of Atrani by Alessandrini sailors, who left traces of their passagge in Atrani's dialect and intonations, with many Northern elements which make Atranesi's identity even more peculiar. Atrani is said to have given birth to Masaniello's mother, and to have hosted the legendary smuggler during his flee from Naples in 1647. Locals say that it was thanks to Atrani's beauty that Murat eventually decided to build the SS 163 road to connect the villages of the Amalfi Coast. So small yet so proud a village.
What to See
Piazza Umberto I used to be a shelter for boats during high tide, now is Atrani's social hub. It is beautifully lit at night, when locals and tourists mingle at bars. The atmosphere is very cosy and charming some say that it reminds of a theatre backstage, the stage being the glorious view on the Gulf. Church of San Salvatore del Bireto the latter referring to the name given to Doges' hats. In this church built in the X century, doges were crowned during the Republic of Amalfi. The beautiful Byzantine internal decorations and heavy bronze doors show the high consideration that Amalfi had for Atrani. Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Maddalen built in 1274 dominates the Gulf, with a gorgeous baroque façade and maiolica tiled dome. Grotta di Masaniello close to the Church of Santa Maria Maddalena. Here the famous revolutionary smuggler allegedly hid from the royal edict to catch him. Church Santa Maria del Bando, perched 500 steps away from centre of town, is a white gem in the hills. Legend says that acoustic is so perfect here, that magistrates came up here to give court sentences verdict to the town, so that everybody would hear. Furthermore the name Bando derives from bandit, as here the Virgin Mary protected a man who had unjustly convicted to be hanged. Torre dello Ziro high above town on Mount Aureo. This is the place that inspired much literature, notably The Duchess of Amalfi by Matteo Bandello and El Mayordomo de la duquesa de Amalfi by Lope de La Vega. Legend says that Giovanna d'Aragona, after the death of her husband Alfonso Piccolomini, became duchess of the Ducato di Amalfi, and fell in love with her Butler, who she married and had two children with. Giovanna's brother the Cardinal Luigi d'Aragona discovered this despicable love and had the man killed, and left his noble sister to die of hunger in the Tower. Grotta dei Santi a natural cave, opening on a lemon orchard very close to the Torre dello Ziro. The walls inside have fresco paintings representing the four Evangelists, this cave is the only remain of a Benedictine Convent that should have been built here around 986 by the Archbishop Leone I. Atrani Beach is just opposite town, just below the ss163 it is divided into two by the Dragone River. There is only a small portion of free beach, the rest is taken up by bathing establishments which provide sunbeds and refreshments. A nice walk is to go from Atrani to Amalfi along the coastline. Very romantic!
22nd of July Santa Maria Maddalena Saint Patron, protector of hairdressers, prostitutes and repentant. Like for the other Saints, Maria Maddalena is celebrated with a procession around the village and final fireworks. 26th of April Renactment of Ducal wedding This day celebrates the important alliance between the Republic of Amalfi and the powerful principality of Capua and Benevento that occurred on the 26th of April 1002 with the wedding of the Duke of Amalfi's son Giorgio and Maria, daughter of Capua's Prince. The celebration takes place inside Sant Salavatore del Bireto, and carries on outside with food stalls and street artist all in period costumes. Last week of August Sagra del Pesce Azzurro is an open-air food event with market and fish stalls around the beautiful alleyways and squares of Atrani. 31st of August Byzantine New Year. This celebration dates back to the Byzantine invasions, and it celebrates the end of summer, today there are beautiful period costume parades and street artist that liven up Atrani in Byzantine style.