Amalfi Cathedral (Wiki Commons)
This sunny resort, famous for its lemons, was one of the first of Italy’s powerful maritime republics, trading with Islamic ports and bringing silks to the West. It was a vassal of Byzantium until AD 839 when it went its own way, until being conquered by the Normans in the 11th century. New Year's Eve is still celebrated in Amalfi on 31 August, the New Year according to the Julian calendar adopted by Byzantium. Every four years it hosts the Ancient Italian Maritime Republic Rowing Regatta, an annual event that rotates with Genoa, Pisa and Venice.
The attractive cathedral of St Andrew was built on the relics of St Andrew, brought here from Constantinople by Crusaders after the sack of the city in the Fourth Crusade (1204). Its ornate bronze doors were cast in Constantinople and paid for by the Amalfi consul, Pantaleone, who was a merchant based in the city trading in slaves, a sinful business from which he wished to be redeemed. They were made by Simeon of Syria in the mid 11th century and were the first in post-Roman Italy. The cathedral's beautiful 13th-century cloister, the Chiostro del Paradiso, has distinctly Arabic influence.
Amalfi is 70km south of Naples