It is easy to pass by the smaller villages along the Amalfi Coast as you try to get to one of the Big Three towns of Positano-Amalfi-Ravello. But if you can possibly stop at one or two of the less popular villages they are well worth the effort and quite easy to see as many are along the way. For one you will find less tourists, and two you will see real life and get to know the locals one on one.
Probably the jewel in the crown is Atrani, Italy’s smallest community and just next door to Amalfi. Most people drive past it on their way from Positano and Amalfi towards Ravello. This tiny walled town consists of a pleasing little piazza decorated in a radiating scallop design with a dazzling star in the middle. Very grand for such a small place. But then Atrani is full of surprises like this. Another of its charms can be found in and in the back of the piazza’s fountain where as is tradition in so many towns of the area, is a nativity scene in the fountain itself. Even though it is late spring, the figures remain as part of the village life. I am one of two visitors in the village, and I am welcome. The villagers smile and say ‘hello’ and are happy to point out this ‘secret’ place where the nativity is, and also point out that there is excellent gelato just round the corner, this is a cheerful place.
Nativity Scene can be found in the fountain of Atrani’s town square
After a gentle walk under archways and up stairs with views of the sea I said good-bye to this agreeable place. For it was here I felt a got a true taste of the real Amalfi Coast. Not the touristy flashy side of it, but the calm life you envision of an Italian town by the sea. I really wanted to stay a little longer…
The dazzling piazza at Atrani