Hotel Onda Verde

Hotel Onda Verde


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Duomo di Sant' Andrea
Religious Site, Amalfi

Complicated, grand, delicate, and dominating, the 9th-century Amalfi cathedral has been remodeled over the years with Romanesque, Byzantine, Gothic, and Baroque elements, but retains a predominantly Arab-Norman style. Cross and crescent seem to be wed here: the campanile looks like a minaret wearing a Scheherazadian turban, the facade conjures up a striped burnoose, and its Paradise Cloister is an Arab-Sicilian spectacular.

The power of Amalfi is evident in the approach to the cathedral, set atop 62 broad steps that lead to a mosaic facade, redone in the 19th century, and framed by bands, arches, and patterned squares. The imposing bronze doors, the first in Italy, were cast in Constantinople before 1066 and signed by Simeon of Syria; they were commissioned by the leader of the large Amalfitan colony there. Silver incrustations on the doors, now difficult to see, are images of Christ, Mary, and saints.

Visitors are now channeled first into the adjoining Chiostro del Paradiso (Paradise Cloister): built around 1266 for Bishop Augustariccio as a burial ground for Amalfi's elite, it's one of the architectural treasures of southern Italy. Its flower-and-palm-filled quadrangle has a series of exceptionally delicate, intertwining arches on slender double columns in a combination of Byzantine and Arabian styles. Note the geometric patterns of colored mosaics in the walls, comprising parts of former pillars and pulpits of the earlier church. Of special note is a 14th-century crucifixion scene by Roberto d'Oderisio, a student of Giotto.

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The striking 12th-century bell tower in front of the complex has a Romanesque base and an elaborate yellow-and-green-tile top with arches in the local style, a round center surrounded by four smaller cupolas. The chapel at the back of the cloister leads into the earlier (9th century) basilica. The structure, called the Basilica of the Crucifix, is in Romanesque style, with a nave, two aisles, and a high, deep apse. Note the 14th-century crucifixion scene by a student of Giotto. This section has now been transformed into a museum, housing sarcophagi, sculpture, Neapolitan goldsmiths' artwork, and other treasures from the cathedral complex.

Steps from the basilica lead down into the crypt of St. Andrew. The cathedral above was built in the 13th century to house the saint's bones, which came from Constantinople and supposedly exuded a miraculous liquid believers call the "manna of St. Andrew." Amalfi's cathedral had always lured pious devotees -- from Francis of Assisi to Pope Urban IV -- but after the 14th-century manna manifestation the pilgrim trade really picked up. The saint's remains (sans head, which is in the Vatican) are kept under the 13th-century high altar in this exceptionally beautiful crypt adorned with marble statues sculpted by Pietro Bernini, father of the famed Gianlorenzo Bernini.

Following the one-way traffic up to the cathedral itself, you finally get to admire the elaborate polychrome marbles, and painted, coffered ceilings from its 18th-century restoration; art historians shake their head over this renovation, as the original decoration of the apse must have been one of the wonders of the Middle Ages. However, the original basilica plan has been preserved. The first chapel on the left of the main entrance has a red porphyry baptismal font, supposedly crafted from the ruins of ancient Paestum. Other treasures include a mother-of-pearl cross given by the people of Jerusalem in 1930, in gratitude for Amalfi's help in establishing a 2,000-bed hospital there in 1112, which later became the first military and religious order, the Knights of St. John. COST: EUR2.50. OPEN: Daily: Mar.-June and Oct., 9-6:45; July-Sept., 9-7:45; Nov.-Feb., 10-1 and 2:30-4:30.

Address: Piazza Duomo, Amalfi, Italy
Phone: 089/871324



  • Duomo
    Religious Site, Ravello




Hotel Onda Verde
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Via Terramare, - N 3 - 84010 Praiano (Salerno) - Italy - Amalfi Coast
Tel.: +39 089 874143 - +39 089 874125 - Fax.: +39 089 8131049


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