city of Atrani
Atrani is a town and comune on the Amalfi Coast in the province of Salerno in the Campania region of south-western Italy.
It is located to the east of Amalfi, several minutes drive down the coast. Atrani has a surface area 0.12 km2 making it the smallest community in all of Italy. In 2010, the estimated population of Atrani was 913, making it the most densely populated city in the Salerno province. The origins of Atrani are still unknown. Archeological research discovered ruins remaining from the 1st century AD. Roman villas existed along the Almafi Coast and were covered in debris from the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. The debris was deposited on the mountains encircling Atrani and from there it was dumped into the valley. In the 5th century AD, barbarians attacked and numerous Romans escaped from the cities. They fled onto Monti Lattari and created stable settlements. The first documented proof of the existence of Atrani is represented by a letter by the Pope Gregory I to Bishop Pimenio of Amalfi dated 596 AD. The Duchy of Amalfi extended from Positano to Cetara and also included Agerola, Pimonte, Lettere, Capri and the archipelago of Sirenuse (Li Galli). Within this territory Atrani was a village that boasted the title of city, the twin city of Amalfi was seat of the aristocracy. The Pantaleoni, the richest and most powerful family of Amalfi, the Alagno, the Mauro Comite, the Comite Iane, the Augustariccio, and the Viarecta families resided there. Its inhabitants preserved their identity as Atranese (from Atrani), unlike all the other inhabitants of the duchy, who were merely called Amalfitani. Only Amalfi and Atrani had the right to elect or depose the leaders of the towns. Amalfi was first ruled by counts, then by prefects, judges, and then finally by the Dukes (not doges, as is sometimes erroneously said). The Duke concentrated in his person both civil and military power. The symbol of his power was a hat, the "birecto", which the dukes were awarded in a coronation in the palatine chapel of S. Salvatore de Birecto of Atrani.