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Car Route: Amalfi Coast

After long trips, trading in spices and expensive fabrics in southern Italy, as well as traveling to the farthest places like Tunisia, Alexandria, Antioch or the metropolis of Constantinople, sailors of the powerful Amalfi Republic returned home to their usual activities.

Amalfi Coast
The route for traveling by car with a length of 75.5 kilometers from Salerno to Sant’Agata-sui-du-Golfi (St. Agatha between the two bays).

After long trips, trading in spices and expensive fabrics in southern Italy, as well as traveling to the farthest places like Tunisia, Alexandria, Antioch or the metropolis of Constantinople, sailors of the powerful Amalfi Republic returned home to their usual activities. They mainly engaged in cultivating soil along narrow valleys formed by mountain streams that descended from the top of Lattari. Slowly and with difficulty they erected partitions in a dry way, which were to become terraces for growing vineyards, olives, and citrus fruits. Soon, gardens and vegetable gardens replaced the oak and chestnut forests.

Despite their travels, sailors never lost touch with the land. They earned a living and, of course, did not know how they created one of the most famous and beloved landscapes in Italy today, which since 1997 has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lush vegetation goes directly to the sea and merges with the color of the Mediterranean Sea. The beauty of this species is further enhanced by urban development, which was created by residents, wanting to surpass nature. Their ancestors chose precisely these places to escape from the invasion of the barbarians: on the shore, directly above the sea, on small ledges they built their houses, which, it seems, climb the rocky slopes. They are entangled in a network of streets and climbs that reliably shelter the city from the winds and the sun. The square houses painted with white lime are closed in some cases by a “lamia”, a special awning – from the inside they are richly decorated. Yellow and blue ceramics reflect a mixture of Mediterranean features and Arab culture. This merger is clearly visible in the most famous buildings and attractions (Villa Rufolo in Ravello, the Cathedral in Scala, the Cathedral and the courtyard of the tomb of Paradiso in Amalfi). They were built during the sunset of the powerful maritime Republic, when the Normans, with the support of the fleet of Pisa (the republics were eternal rivals) conquered the coast. The former highway 163, on which the route passes, was laid for the most part through a rock, it stretches through the most spectacular views of Italy. If you go along the coast, then on the way you will meet all the remarkable cities. If you drive from Salerno in the north-west direction at a distance of 5 kilometers is Vietri sul Mare, then the sea disappears from view in Cava de Tirreni (3.5 km) and in the abbey of Santa Trinita (4 km). Then follows the “Borgo” Cetara (8 km), located on the coast, it is replaced by the ruins of the abbey of Santa Maria de Olearia and Majori (9.5 km). From here there is a road up (21 km) to Ciuntsi, then the descent to Sant’Egidio del Monte Albino begins. Further, Minori, located on the coast, which is at a crossroads with the road to Ravello and Skala (8 km), then the route again goes along the coast, bypassing Atrani (8.5 km) and Amalfi (1.5 km). From the right down the branch to Agerola (14 km). Further, the landscape becomes less green: the rocky grotto of Smeraldo and Praiano (7 km), Vettica Maggiore and, finally, Positano (6.5 km). From here the route departs from the sea, leads up and rests on the former highway 145, from where a magnificent panorama opens up on the coast and the Sorrento Peninsula, then the road follows to Agata sui duet golfi (14 km).

Vietri sul Mare
For many centuries in this town (80 m, 8039 inhabitants), local residents have been producing ceramic products and wall tiles, such as those that adorn the dome and bell tower of the parish church of San Giovanni Battista (16th century, rebuilt in 1732 year, inside is a polyptych of the 16th century) or modern buildings of the historical center. In the ducal palace of Carosino on Umberto I Avenue, the Museum of Fine Arts named after Manuel Cargaleiro, an artist and master of ceramics from Portugal, has recently opened, which has put a lot of effort into creating this exhibition complex intended for the exhibition of ceramic products. The museum presents his works made in the town of Vietri sul Mare, as well as works by other Italian and foreign masters. Ceramic production in Vietnam is a whole industrial sector, the symbol of which is the Solimene Ceramics Palace. This is a freestanding landmark factory, lined with burnt clay pipes by architect Paolo Solieri (1950-59).

At a distance of 2.5 kilometers is Marina di Vietri beach, adjacent to it is the town of Raito (180 m), where in the park area there is a tower occupied by the Museum of Ceramics, it presents local craft traditions from the 17th to the 20th century.

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