Amalfi was the first Marine Republic of Italy. After the fall of the Roman Empire,
it was the first city to re-establish trade between East and West by importing exotic
merchandise including carpets, paper and coffee.
It was the birthplace of Flavio Gioia, the inventor of the mariners' compass who
gave navigators the famous maritime law known as "Tabula de Amalpha".
Amalfi funded a magnificent hospital in Jerusalem. In 1112, Frà Gerardo Sasso
di Scala, born in the neighbouring eponymous little town, gave the citizens of
Amalfi the military and religious order which still exists today, "I cavalieri
di Malta" (The Knights of Malta). Before settling on this name, the order
had been known as "I cavalieri di San Giovanni", "I cavalieri di
Cipro" and "I cavalieri di Rodi". Many battles were fought between
the Cavalieri and the Saracens and in 849, they were called upon to defend Rome
and the Church in the famous battle of Ostia. Today, Amalfi is a peaceful,
picturesque seaside town, blessed with a mild climate and set in an environment
of outstanding natural beauty. Just some of the many noteworthy buildings of
historical interest are the Duomo, the Arsenal and the old paper mills that still
to this day produce the luxurious paper famous throughout the world.