The Cathedral of Amalfi
If you go to Europe, you have to see the cathedrals, that’s part of the rules. And you have to buy a tee shirt. These are just the basics of tourism. I bought the tee shirt in Positano, so today we saw the cathedral.
Amalfi may be a small town, but it has a big cathedral with a major attraction–the head and other bones of St. Andrew, one of the original apostles. Why somebody’s bones are important is beyond me, but there you have it.
In any event, we climbed the many steps up from the town square, paid our €3 entry fee and went in.
First off, you enter the coloister, which was the cemetery for the town nobles and was built between 1266 and 1268. The second you round the corner, all the noise of the city drops away, and you are very much in a quiet, contemplative space.
Surrounding the cloister are some of the more important sarcophagi, dating back as far as the 2nd century, still beautiful with their marble carving. I wonder what art of our age will survive 1900 years from now.
From the cloister, you visit the old basilica, which has been turned into a museum, but I didn’t find it all that intriguing. Then you descend into the crypt of Saint Andrew:
The crypt of Saint Andrew is the heart of the cathedral, and by far the most beautiful part. The enormous bronze sculpture, weighing approximately 800 kg (1750 pounds), was created by Michelangelo Naccherino, a student of that other guy named Michelangelo.
The ceilings in this room are all adorned with frescoes.
I’m sure an art historian could do a semester class just on this room, it is entirely worth the visit to the cathedral.
Climbing up out of the crypt, you finally enter the cathedral itself. Having visited the great cathedrals in Paris and Cologne, I was expecting the hugely overcooked decorations of the baroque era, and was pleasantly surprised to find that Amalfi is much more sedate, yet still exquisite.
Stepping out of the church, we had an excellent view of the town square and the mountain behind it:
Just as we started down the long steep stairs to the square, it began to pour. The weather on this trip has been exciting, to say the least. Another day of thunderstorms and downpours just adds to the adventure.