Costiera Amalfitana (Amalfi Coast) 1997
Italy

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The Amalfi coast is an area of great physical beauty and natural diversity. It has been intensively settled by human communities since the early Middle Ages. There are a number of towns such as Amalfi and Ravello with architectural and artistic works of great significance. 

United Nations (New York) 2002. World Heritage Series. Amalfi Coast.

The rural areas show the versatility of the inhabitants in adapting their use of the land to the diverse nature of the terrain, which ranges from terraced vineyards and orchards on the lower slopes to wide upland pastures.

The Costiera Amalfitana is an outstanding example of a Mediterranean landscape, with exceptional cultural and natural scenic values resulting from its dramatic topography and historical evolution. 

  • United Nations (New York) 2002. World Heritage Series: Amalfi Coast. 

Amalfi is a picturesque town and holiday resort in southern Italy, in Campania Region, near Naples. Beautifully situated on limestone cliffs, it overlooks the Gulf of Salerno. Amalfi is a small fishing port and the seat of an archbishopric. One of the chief points of interest is the cathedral, begun in the 9th century. 

In the 9th century Amalfi was a powerful maritime republic. Its maritime code, one of the earliest known, was widely recognized around the Mediterranean Basin until well into the 16th century. After the 12th century, when Amalfi was annexed (1131) by King Roger II of Sicily and then sacked (1135 and 1137), by the Pisans, it gradually declined as a commercial and naval power. 
  • Italy 1946. Amalfi's cathedral, begun in the 9th century. 
  • Italy 2005. Amalfi Coast. 

Italy 1946. Amalfi Cathedral.

Italy 2005. Amalfi Coast.

Ravello is a village in the province of Salerno, in southern Italy, 375 m (1,230 ft) above sea level. Ravello is in a beautiful location near the Gulf of Salerno, 13 km (8 mi) west of the city of Salerno. According to tradition, the city was founded by the Romans in the 6th century. Ravello is also mentioned in the 9th century, when it was part of the duchy of Amalfi, and it achieved great importance in the 13th century, when its population is said to have reached 35,000. Most of Ravello’s monuments date back to the 11th to 13th centuries, when Arab-Sicilian art reached its peak. The original characteristics of the cathedral, built in the 11th century, were unfortunately modified during restoration work in the 18th century. 

Italy 1980. Ravello.

Still preserved, however, are the bronze doors of the fine Romanesque-Byzantine style and the mosaic decorations of the pulpit, a work by Nicolò da Foggia. Many minor churches and picturesque chapels, as well as several ancient private dwellings are scattered along the steep, narrow streets. 

Best known among Ravello's attractions is the Palazzo dei Rúfolo. Here, German composer Richard Wagner found inspiration for his Klingsor's magic garden in the opera Parsifal, and every year there are performances of his music. 

  • Italy 1980. Panoramic view of Ravello. 

The origins of Positano, like those of many other towns, are lost in the mists of time, so that it is difficult to distinguish between history and legend. As it often happen in the past, myths supplied for the lack of data: one of these myths tells us that Positano was founded by Poseidon - the Latin Neptune, the god of the sea - for the sake of the nymph Pasitea, whom he loved. It is certain that Phoenicians and Greeks, travelling westwards, landed in Positano, which at that time, was inhabited by Oschi and Piceni. The Romans built near the 'great' beach a rich patrician villa, which has now been buried by gardens and by the church devoted to Our Lady of the Assumption. 

With the fall of the Roman Empire Positano became a part of the Republic of Amalfi, the first maritime republic, and went through flourishing period, owing to the commerce with the other countries of the Mediterranean area. Unfortunately this period was followed by gloomy ones, particularly during the Angevin and Aragonese domination, when the village was more than once exposed to the offence of the Saracen pirates, first, and, then of the Turkmen. 

  • Italy 1997. Positano on the Amalfi Coast, and its cathedral. 

Italy 1997. Positano.

Sources and links: 

Other World Heritage Sites in Italy (on this site). Inactive links are not described on stamps. Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, section Italy for further information about such sites. 

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Revised 01 aug 2006  
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