The biggest event of the year in Atrani takes place on July 22nd when the town celebrates Santa Maria Maddalena (Saint Mary Magdalen), the patron saint and protector of Atrani. The Church of Santa Maria Maddalena, beautiful from every direction, is one of Atrani’s distinctive landmarks. When we arrived for the beginning of the religious procession the sky was turning shades of pink that seemed to perfectly compliment the colors of Atrani.
My favorite spot in Atrani is the small piazza in front of the church, where you can get a good view of the distinctive 16th century bell tower and the white facade, perhaps the only example of Rococo architecture on the Amalfi Coast. I love the contrast of the undulating and ornate facade with the stark and more severe stone used in the bell tower.
From this tiny piazza is one of the most extraordinary views of the Amalfi Coast looking toward Maiori and Salerno. At sunset it is perfectly dreamy! I got up to the piazza, a bit breathless, just as the procession with the statue of Santa Maria Maddalena was leaving the church.
Here’s a short video where you can see the statue and hear the celebratory music and crazy church bells that only ring like this for the festival of Santa Maria Maddalena.
I just love a good marching band, especially the tubas, and the band this year was very good. They were from Montescaglioso (read the tubas), which is near Matera in the region of Basilicata. Usually, the bands come from towns in the area, so I’m not sure how this band ended up in Atrani from so far away!
Here’s the procession as it makes it way down the twisting road to the beach in Atrani.
Later in the evening, as we headed up the main street of Atrani for dinner, we ran right into the procession again. In this video you can see the statue very well and hear the people of Atrani singing.
The evening is capped off at midnight by one of the most extraordinary firework displays of the summer. In fact, I was so taken by it that I didn’t make any videos. Well, guess I’ll just have to go again next summer!