After leaving Orvieto (I'll get back to my sojourn in Orvieto later) I travelled by intercity train to Salerno via Rome. I was picked up by the delightful Angelo and driven the 20 kms of quite spectacular coastline to Amalfi. Angelo, who drove very carefully along the winding and narrow roads with steep drops, gave me a running commentary on the way and I arrived at the Hotel Aurora at around 8.30pm. My room, terrace and view were exactly as shown in the brochure.
Amalfi was everything I wanted it to be. A pretty, scenic seaside town with spectacular scenery and lots of light and colour. The food was good, the people friendly and the photographic opportunites too numerous too count. I spent Easter Friday (not a holiday in Italy) wandering around Amalfi and then caught a bus up to Ravello high in the mountains behind Amalfi.
After exploring Ravello I walked down to Amalfi on paths and steps through lemon orchards, past centuries old houses and beside a stream, passing through Atrani on the way. It was a picturesque walk of around 5 kms that normally takes about one and a half hours and took me 3 hours because I kept stopping to take photos and enjoy the scenery.
That night there was an old ceremony to mark the Death of Christ. I managed to get up on to some steps opposite the cathedral in the piazza which was packed with locals and some tourists. After a long wait, the lights were turned off and at the top of the Cathedral steps began an incredibly dramatic procession that dates back to medieval times. A black cross with a gold figure of Christ appeared at the top of the steps. On either side of the cross spread right across the width of the steps and in single file coming down the steps on each side were people in white robes and white hoods that covered their faces. They each carried a lantern. When the cross reached the bottom of the stairs a group of priests and a bishop appeared at the top. Behind them came a large and obviously very heavy gold coffin with a gold figure on top. More people in white then the maddonna dressed in Black and gold and then a large brass band. The people in the piazza were all singing. This was a scene I will never forget.
The next day was my trip to Pompeii. Another unforgettable experience although I would advising seeing it in a small group tour rather than with a coach full of people. The drive back was heart stopping as the coach driver carefully wound his way down the steep and winding road in heavy cloud. We passed other coaches with what seemed to be millimetres to spare and sometimes backed up to let others pass, only emerging from the cloud a short distance from Amalfi. Amalfi Coast Amalfi Coast Amalfi CoastView from the 5 km walk down from Ravello to Amalfi Death of Christ Parade, Amalfi On Easter Friday night the Piazza Popolo fills u and the very dramatic and medieval Death of Christ Parade commences at the Cathedral in Amalfi Pompeii Pompeii with Mt Vesuvius in the background. Amalfi Coast Amalfi Coast Amalfi Coast Amalfi Coast