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Brief Geographical Notes
Thirteen towns scattered along the slopes of the Lattari Mountains which overlook the gulf of Salerno stretching from the peak of Mount Cerreto (1300 meters) all the way down to the sea. Steep ridges and sheer slopes, high cliffs pitching down to the creek, cleft by ravines formed by torrents flowing from mountain ridge basins, deep waters just off the coast, small towns at the mouth of valleys, or on top of plateaus: this is the what a bird eye's view of the Amalfi Coast revels. The spontaneous vegetation changes with altitude passing from the carob tree and oleaster of the coastline to the evergreen oak of the hillside, and, further up, the Neapolitan alder and chestnut tree typical of more mountainous areas. The landscape changes also according to the crops the land produces: lower down, splendid terraced hillside covered by lemon orchards, vineyards and olive trees, and further uphill thickets of chestnut trees. Its calcareous, dolomitic rocks are covered by sandstone or pyroclastic debris carried by the wind from the Mount Somma - Vesuvius volcanic complex in 300,000 years of intermittent activity. Throughout the centuries volcanic activity has had heavy repercussions on habitability conditions and the materials brought here by the wind have determined a high degree of instability. The entire area is at the mercy of rockfall, landslides and rapid mud-flows particularly when rainfalls are heavy. In short, the Amalfi Coast is a fragile territory constantly exposed to the risk of dramatic hydrogeological disruption. The towns along the coast were built on the alluvial fans of torrents, on tiny beaches created by the alluvial events responsible for the to-and-fro oscillation of the shore-line through the ages.

Brief Historical Notes
Human beings have chosen to live on the Amalfi Coast ever since the Palaeolithic Period. History came to this part of the world with the ships that sailed along the trading routes of the Mediterranean, and with the coming of the Etruscans. The presence of the Greeks is still enveloped in a shroud of mystery, but there is no doubt that the Romans turned the coast into a resort where to spend their leisure time in idleness and futile pastimes, while country houses were built in the agricultural hinterland. Then came the turn of the Greek-Gothic war and the Byzantine domination. It was at this point that Amalfi started growing and asserting itself, until it became a powerful maritime republic capable of holding its own - what with weapons, what with a shrewd foreign policy - with the Lombards, Saracens and the Eastern Roman Empire. When the independent republic was subdued by the Normans, it rapidly declined in importance. Its decadence was marked by the passage of the territory in fee from hand to hand during the Angevin and Aragonese periods until 1582 when the last duke died and the territory passed over to the Kingdom of Naples as Crown property.
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