The people of Amalfi have always had a strong connection to the sea. Not just because of the town’s geographic setting, but because of something that seems to run deep in the blood. This is the something that led those Amalfitani in the Middle Ages to head out across the sea to other parts of the world, to sail those same seas home again and then turn around and do it all over again. And we’re not talking a day trip to Capri here. Try Africa, Byzantium and Jerusalem.
Over the centuries, the sea has meant livelihood in many different ways for Amalfi. While trading and fishing aren’t the center of life as they one were, the sea is still a livelihood for many people in Amalfi – from the remaining fishermen to the companies that rent boats to tourists in the summer and the workers on the ferries that do make those day trips to Capri. More than work, however, it’s the sea itself that rejuvenates the soul. I can’t even say at this point how many times I’ve heard Amalfitans that now live elsewhere return home and comment on how they miss the sea, the expanse of it and its salty scent. It’s just not the same anywhere else.
By the end of February you can feel a bit of anxiousness in the air. When the sun glimmers across the sea and the weather gives those first signs of spring, it’s hard to keep the people of Amalfi away from the sea. It’s time.
While there are those few and brave who swim pretty much year round and fish throughout the winter, the majority of Amalfitans wait for the weather to indicate that it’s springtime again. In the meantime, life still takes place near the sea – from conversations with friends, to afternoon walks and kids kicking the soccer balls around and learning to ride their bikes.
I love this time of year in Amalfi watching all the little changes — in the town and the people — as the seasons change and spring arrives. Over the years I’ve absorbed some of that connection with the sea, but it will never be quite like the people who were born here. It’s tradition, it’s history and it’s love.