Tempting Tuesday: The Cloister of Paradise in Amalfi


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Cloister


With the response I had to last week’s Tempting Tuesday about the Certosa di San Giacomo in Capri,  I’ve learned I’m not the only one who enjoys a beautiful chiostro, or cloister. I promised another treat, and this week we’re going on a walk around the small, but spectacular Cloister of Paradise at the Duomo of Amalfi. Built between 1266 and 1268, this cloister is only one of the many reasons you need to be sure to explore the Duomo when you visit Amalfi. While the word “paradise” could certainly describe the unreal beauty of the cloister, the name instead reflects the original function of the space. In the 13th century, this was the cemetery for the noble merchants of Amalfi.


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Cloister Garden


Walking around the cloister, you can admire the Moorish style interlaced arches, supported by 120 slender columns. The whitewashed walls intensify the vivid colors of the small Mediterranean garden in the center of the cloister. On the northern side of the cloister, be sure to stop and admire the perfectly framed view of the Duomo’s campanile, completed in 1276.


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Cloister Campanile


For those of you that really enjoy architecture, check out the cutaway plan for the Duomo of Amalfi below. (Click on the image to make it larger.) There you can see the location of the Cloister of Paradise in the lower left hand corner, and how it is connected to the rest of the Duomo complex.


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Cloister Floor plan


Surrounding the cloister are several works of art that are worth stopping for a closer look.  Here you can see the remains of a Byzantine period pulpit from the Duomo (dating from 1174 – 1202), featuring inlaid mosaics of the Cosmatesque school. On the Amalfi Coast, you can find several excellent examples of these types of pulpits intact in the Duomo of Amalfi, but also the Duomo of Ravello, Duomo of Scala, and particularly fine pieces in the Duomo of Salerno. I’m not sure the story behind why this exact piece didn’t survive, but there certainly must be a story there!


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Cloister Mosaics


Also around the cloister you will find several sarcophagi, including two fine examples dating from the first half of the 2nd century. The sarcophagus in the photo below shows a scene from Greek myth of “The Rape of Persephone.” 


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Cloister Tomb


Around on the other side of the cloister there are small chapels filled with frescoes  from the 14th century. The fresco pictured bellow is similar in style to the Giotto School, and has been attributed to Roberto d’Oderisio, one of the most important painters in the region of Campania in latter half of the 14th century. In the foreground of this Crucifixion scene,  you can see Christ on the right, with the suffering Virgin Mary in the center with John and Mary Magdalene.


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Cloister Fresco


For more photos of the cloister and the Duomo of Amalfi, be sure to visit the Amalfi Cathedral page on Sacred Destinations. And while you’re there, travel around and see other Sacred Sites in Italy.



Visiting the Duomo is free, but to see the Cloister of Paradise and the museum you will have to pay €2.50. An excellent brochure is provided in several languages, and gives you all the information you’ll need for an informative and pleasant visit. Your walk begins in the Cloister of Paradise, continues in the museum, takes you down to the impressive crypt of Sant’Andrea, and then finally leads up to the central nave of the Cathedral. For about the cost of one gelato, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed! You can enjoy your gelato after on the grand staircase of the Duomo overlooking Amalfi’s main piazza. The great people watching is free!



Related Posts

Tempting Tuesday: The Certosa di San Giacomo in Capri

Tempting Tuesday: Summer Boats on the Amalfi Coast

Tempting Tuesday: Touring Around Capri by Boat

Tempting Tuesday: L’Arco Naturale on Capri

Out & About: Art Show in Amalfi


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Pepe Art3 

Walking through Amalfi the other day, I noticed this strange little sign advertising a mostra d’arte, an art show. Fortunately, I had a few moments to enjoy walking through this colorful and fun little exhibit of work by the artist Giuseppe Palermo, or Pepe, presented by the Presso Azienda Soggiorno e Turismo of Amalfi. I am not sure if art exhibits happen here every summer, but this is the first I have seen. I hope there will be more! The beautiful courtyard is a perfect location, and one that is often just passed by.


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Pepe Art4


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Pepe Art1


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Pepe Art2


This show was called “Famiglia Gialla,” or “The Yellow Family,” and all of the paintings and sculptures featured one or more of these little yellow figures. Each of the figures had a definite sense of “melancholy happiness,” as Pepe describes it, which was evident as I walked around the courtyard both wanting to laugh and to frown. It was a strange combination of emotions!


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Pepe Art5


While I caught this show right at the end (it closes today), you can visit the artist’s website and view his work in more detail. Be sure to check out the fun video of a recent exhibition in Ravello at the Hotel Palumbo featuring the work of Pepe, paintings by the American artist Lucy Mc Gillis, and interesting works on glass by Emilio D’Agostino. (Great practice for those of you studying Italian!)