Complicated, grand, delicate, and dominating, the 9th-century Amalfi cathedral has been remodeled over the years with Romanesque, Byzantine, Gothic, and baroque elements, but retains a predominantly Arab-Norman style. Cross and crescent seem to be wed here: the campanile, spliced with Saracen colors and the intricate tile work of High Barbery, looks like a minaret wearing a Scheherazadian turban, the facade conjures up a striped burnoose, and its Chiostro del Paradiso
(Paradise Cloister) is an Arab-Sicilian spectacular. Built around 1266 as a burial ground for Amalfi's elite, the cloister, the first stop on a tour of the cathedral, is one of southern Italy's architectural treasures. Its flower-and-palm-filled quadrangle has a series of exceptionally delicate intertwining arches on slender double columns.
The chapel at the back of the cloister leads into the earlier (9th century) basilica. Romanesque in style, the structure has a nave, two aisles, and a high, deep apse. Note the 14th-century crucifixion scene by a student of Giotto. This section has now been transformed into a museum, housing sarcophagi, sculpture, Neapolitan goldsmiths' artwork, and other treasures from the cathedral complex.
Steps from the basilica lead down into the Cripta di Sant'Andrea (Crypt of Saint Andrew). The cathedral above was built in the 13th century to house the saint's bones, which came from Constantinople and supposedly exuded a miraculous liquid believers call the "manna of Saint Andrew." Following the one-way traffic up to the cathedral itself, you finally get to admire the elaborate polychrome marbles and painted, coffered ceilings from its 18th-century restoration. Art historians shake their heads over this renovation, as the original decoration of the apse must have been one of the wonders of the Middle Ages.
Dec 5, 2010
It was a pleasant two day stay during which we visited the Duomo and attended the evening and morning services to which the people of Amalfi attended with great enthusiasm. We were also surprised to watch the Archbishop mingling with his flock and heeding their request to bring down the statute of the Apostle down the stairs to the square in front of the Cathedral after a rainy day. We were also delighted to attend to the Manna Ceremony when the priest
first showed the empty vial and them showed it full of manna whic was later distributed to the failful. As parishioners of Luqa (MALTA) who also venerated st Andrew as our Patron Staint we could not be more satisfied with the devotion showed to this Apostle who not only followed Christ but was instrumental to call his brother Peter and then give his life for the faith he had in Christ. The Cathedral is beautiful and full of frescos that leaves one admiring them for long periods We must also say a word about the way were we received in the Hotel Repubblica Antica were we were made to feel at home. And at last a word about the Band that participated in the feast delivering beautiful band marches among which a Maltese piece KING written by Maestro Archbald Mizzi. The stay was pleasant inspite of the rain and a coldish atmosphere caused by the high hills surrounding the coastal village of Amalfi. Tks alfred, antoine-andre and nicholas