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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.

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In 1647, Masaniello, instigator of an uprising in Naples against Spanish control, was hunted by soldiers of the Duke of Arcos, the Viceroy of Naples. He returned to Atrani to hide in what has since been called the 'Cave of Masaniello', a cave not far from the hero's mother's house.

Born in Naples in 1620, Masaniello, whose full name was Tommaso Aniello d'Amalfi, was the son of Francis of Amalfi and Antonia Gargano of Atrani. He was a fishmonger, but was known in the Piazza del Mercato in Naples for his skill as a smuggler. The Neapolitan Republic or 'Royal Republic' (Italian: Real Repubblica) was proclaimed under the protection of France and Masaniello was acclaimed as "Captain-General of the Neapolitan People." The power went to his head and he fell into a series of excesses that made him unpopular with the people.

On July 16, 1647 he was killed. The Neapolitan Republic lasted until the following April, when it succumbed to the Spanish. In 1643 the Great Plague killed many Atranese. On 22 June 1807, Joseph Bonaparte, King of Naples, went on an official visit to the Amalfi Coast. Struck by the beauty of the place in Amalfi and Atrani in particular, he promised to build a road that would make it easier to access the Kingdom of the Amalfi. This road was built, however, it was on the initiative of Joachim Murat in 1816, but only completed in 1854.

On 10 September 2010 the Dragone River burst its banks following a flood and overflowed along the main street of the city. The river was full of mud and carried away in its path. A girl named Francesca Mansi died. Her body was found months later near the Aeolian Islands. Read more on wikipedia


Collegiate Church of St. Mary Magdalene Penitent

The Collegiate Church of St Mary Magdalene was founded in 1274 on the ruins of a medieval fortress on the initiative of Atrani. Over time the church has undergone considerable restoration. In 1570, near collapse, funds were raised by special taxes on wheat and export of manufactured goods to restore the church. The building underwent a second operation almost a century later, in 1669. On that occasion it also repaired the sacristy which was equipped with an external counter. In 1753, as the population grew the church was enlarged and expanded by donations from private citizens in addition to the contribution of municipal regiment. It was during this work that the fortress was finally demolished in order to free up additional space enlargement. In recent times, it was renovated by the architect Lorenzo Casalbore of Salerno. The temple is decorated with two transepts. One ceiling is covered externally with tiles; the other has a flat roof. There are numerous statues and paintings placed in various side chapels: The Madonna shepherdess (famous sculpture of 1789) and The Incredulity of St. Thomas (work of the 16th century Salerno Andrea Sabatini). The facade of the church is considered "the only example of Rococo on the Amalfi Coast". The terrace of the sacristy overlooks the Gulf of Salerno as the Belvedere of Villa Cimbrone. The bell tower, with its brown tuff, is reminiscent of the Madonna del Carmine in Naples.

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