It is hard to grasp that pretty little Amalfi, with its sun-filled piazzas and small beach, was once a maritime superpower with a population of more than 70,000.

For one thing, it’s not a big place – you can easily walk from one end to the other in about 20 minutes. For another, there are very few historical buildings of note. The explanation is chilling: most of the old city, and its populace, simply slid into the sea during an earthquake in 1343.

Today, although the permanent population is a fairly modest 5000 or so, the numbers swell significantly during summer, when day trippers pour in by the coachload.

Just around the headland, neighboring Atrani is a picturesque tangle of whitewashed alleys and arches centered on a lively, lived-in piazza and popular beach.

3 January 2020
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