Amalfi

Amalfi ämäl´fē [key], town (1991 pop. 5,589), in Campania, S Italy, a small fishing port on the Gulf of Sorrento. Built on a mountain slope, it is also a picturesque seaside resort. According to legend, Amalfi was founded by the Romans it later became (9th cent. AD) an early Italian maritime republic. It rivaled Pisa, Venice, and Genoa in wealth and power and had a population of about 70,000. Amalfi's maritime code, the Tavole Amalfitane, had wide influence until the 18th cent. Amalfi reached its zenith in the 11th cent. Thereafter it declined fairly rapidly it was captured (1131) by the Normans and sacked (1135, 1137) by the Pisans, and in 1343 a storm destroyed much of the town. Of note in Amalfi is the Sicilian-Arab cathedral (11th cent., with numerous later additions), which has an imposing facade, fine bronze doors cast (1066) in Constantinople, and a stunning cloister ( chiostro del Paradiso ). The Amalfi Coast, running from Salerno to Sorrento, is famous for its rugged scenery.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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