This small sea town covers a territory of only 1 square km. It is the smallest municipality in Europe. The town is still that of Middle Ages and it is very well kept: narrow streets with vaults and arches, all covered in a white mantle of lime.
Atrani is situated between the sea and the high cliffs, on the narrow valley del Dragone, at the feet of Civita mount and Aureo mount that divides it from Amalfi. Atrani is really picturesque with its small beach that the fishing lights leave during the night to go fishing, thus lighting the sea in a very charming way.
The beauty of Atrani, with alleys, arches, small squares and the typical "scalinatelle" (small staircases), is represented by the small beach surrounded by the tangle of the houses. This small town is like a crib, especially during the night with all the lights.
The most interesting monument is San Salvatore de Birecto Church together with Santa Maria Maddalena Church.
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.
Monuments - Art
S. Salvatore de Birecto Church
S. Salvatore de Birecto Church where doges were crowned. It was built in X century, the most important elements are the small bell tower and the bronze portal donated in 1087 by a rich merchant.
Santa Maria del Bando Church
Santa Maria del Bando Church, built around XII century
"Fontana moresca", a fountain of 1927 by Luigi De Bartolomeis
Santa Maria Maddalena collegiate
Santa Maria Maddalena collegiate church , founded in 1274 to thank the Saint who had freed the town from Saracen invaders. It has two bronze portals and a Baroque facade.
- Santa Rosalia monastery with a small church
- S. Maria Immacolata church
- San Gertrude chapel built in 1687: inside there is a painting portraying the Saint
- Carmine Church, there is a nice crib made in 1600
- San Michele Fuori le Mura church, built in XII century
- "Grotta dei Santi", a small natural cave with paintings of Byzantine inspiration portraying the four Evangelists and the warrior saint, surely Saint George, with the rod in his hand
- Masaniello cave, the place where Masaniello took refuge after the rebellion in Naples. Near the cave there is the house of his mother attainable by rising 500 steps
- Check the quality of the marine waters of the beach (data by ARPAC).
- General information about Atrani beach by ARPAC.
Photo gallery Atrani on Amalfi Coast
Photos of Atrani