Amalfi is an Italian town of 5,084 inhabitants in the province of Salerno in Campania.
Since 1997, the Amalfi Coast, named after Amalfi, has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Its foundation is traced back to the Romans (its emblem bears the inscription Descendit ex patribus romanorum). Starting from the ninth century, first (in chronological order) among the maritime republics, rivaled with Pisa, Venice and Genoa for the control of the Mediterranean Sea.
The Maritime Code of Amalfi, better known as the Tavole amalfitane, had a great influence until the seventeenth century.
Amalfi reached its peak in the eleventh century, after which began a rapid decline: in 1131 it was conquered by the Normans and in 1135 and 1137 plundered by the Pisans. In 1343, then, a storm resulting in tsunami destroyed much of the city.
Traditionally, every year a crew of Amalfi rowers participate in the Regatta of the Ancient Maritime Republics, challenging the weapons of the cities of Genoa, Pisa and Venice.
For an error of interpretation of a Latin text, which instead reported that the invention of the compass was attributed by the historian Flavius Biondo to Amalfitani, the philologist Giambattista Pio claimed that the compass had been invented by the amphitrite Flavio Gioia. In the text in question (Amalphi in Campania veteri magnetis usus inventus to Flavio traditur), however, we should not understand Flavio as the inventor of the compass, but only as the one who reported the news: precisely Flavio Biondo. However, the Amalfi navigators may have been among the first to use that instrument. "An ancient Amalfitana tradition refers, instead, to a certain Giovanni Gioia as inventor of the seafaring instrument".
Particularly flourishing in the history of the city and alive in two residual paper mills on the many present and now in ruins, is the paper industry, linked to the production of the precious Amalfi paper. In fact, in the city it is possible to visit the Paper Museum of Amalfi.
August 13th, 2018
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