Atrani, the smallest town on the Amalfi Coast.
Atrani is a small village built in the valley formed by the river Dragone’s delta.
The top of Mount Aureo, with the beautiful Tower of Zirro, used to survey the coastline from the Saracens’s attacks in the Middle Ages, is the bordering line between the two villages.
This small enclave is as big as only one square kilometre, its houses and churches well adhering the cliffs of the valley as if they were small baroque cream pastries, one on top of the other, interconnected by a network of narrow walkways and steep stairways, partly covered by arched porticos. In the Middle Ages, Atrani was part of the Maritime Republic of Amalfi.
The local aristocracy had chosen to reside there. Doges were crowned in the church of San Salvatore de Birecto.
The centre of the village is Piazza Umberto I which is the heart of all the activities of the town. From here all the little winding streets depart to connect with the many churches of Atrani. There were more than 300 churches in medieval times. But, in those years the village was indeed bigger and more developed.
The church of Santa Maria Maddalena is overlooking the sea, at the very limit of the plateau on which the entire village lies. While watching this church, Walter Benjamin felt like it was God Himself descending into the sea.