Italy’s Most Beautiful Villages on the Amalfi Coast
‘I Borghi più belli d’Italia‘ (Italy’s Most Beautiful Villages) is an association founded in 2002 with the aim of enhancing and promoting small Italian towns that have been able to protect and preserve their beauty. A beauty created and handed down over the centuries. More than 350 selected and certified villages belong to it. On the Amalfi Coast there are currently three villages that can boast this prestigious recognition. Let’s find out which ones they are!
A hamlet of the municipality of Vietri sul Mare, Albori is a picturesque village protected by the mountains but with a maritime soul, as its brightly-coloured houses used to be recognised from afar by sailors when they left the village or returned after long crossings. Just over 300 people live here and the pace is the slow one of the past. Walking through its narrow streets, you will feel as if you are going back in time. At the centre of the village stands the Church of St Margaret of Antioch, dating back to the 16th century. Inside you can admire magnificent frescoes of the Neapolitan school, of which Francesco Solimena was one of the major exponents. Linked to Albori is Marina d’Albori, a small stretch of coastline with a pretty little beach characterised by sand mixed with pebbles. For lovers of trekking and nature trails, several paths lead from the village to the summit of Mount Falerno.
Atrani is the smallest municipality in southern Italy in terms of territorial extension and second in Italy only to Fiera di Primiero. The village is characterised by a maze of alleys and whitewashed arches arranged around a lively piazza and a small arched beach. There are numerous religious buildings in Atrani, including: the Church of San Salvatore de’ Birecto, where, at the time of the Maritime Republic of Amalfi, the coronation of the highest governmental authorities took place, remodelled in neoclassical style but founded in the 10th century; the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Maddalena, with a lively Baroque façade, a majolica-tiled dome and an elegant bell tower; and the Sanctuary of Santa Maria del Bando, with an interesting majolica floor. Other sights to see include: the Grotta di Masaniello, according to tradition the last refuge of the Neapolitan captain general; and the Grotta dei Santi, famous for its Byzantine-style pictorial decorations.
Furore is an ancient fishing village nestled between the sea and the mountains that encompasses all the beauty and enchantment of the Amalfi Coast. It is known as ‘the village that isn’t there‘, due to its inhabited area scattered along the mountain walls; and ‘the painted village‘, due to the large number of murals that adorn the walls of the houses and buildings. Visiting this village you will rediscover the charm and romantic atmosphere of the film ‘L’Amore’ (by director Roberto Rossellini with Anna Magnani and Federico Fellini in the lead roles). Furore’s main attraction is the Fiordo, a deep cleft in the rock in whose seaward edge there is a magnificent little beach of white pebbles, just 25 metres long. Also worth visiting in the village are: the Church of San Giacomo (or San Jaco), with a pictorial cycle of considerable historical and artistic interest; and the Church of Sant’Elia Profeta, which houses a valuable wooden triptych depicting the Madonna and Child and Saints Elijah and Bartholomew.