Just after the statue of Sant’Antonio was safely loaded on the boat and the priest and members of the religious procession had boarded, I heard a voice yell, “Dove le due ragazze?” My heart almost stopped. One of those two girls was me! A good friend had arranged for me and a younger friend of mine to ride on one of the boats during the procession. He knew that she is enamored with boats and that I am always interested in seeing and learning more about the religious processions here. But neither of us expected to ride on the first boat with the statue of Sant’Antonio! (Plus, 10 days before my 29th birthday I got a nice compliment by being called una ragazza.) So we ran up the dock and clamored on the boat with big smiles on our faces and feeling very special.
As we pulled out of the harbor of Atrani, I heard the marching band start up. “No, it couldn’t be!” I thought as I turned around. But, yes, the marching band was on another boat that followed our boat for the entire procession. I can’t explain why this made me so happy, but I still smile when I look at the pictures and watch the videos.
This isn’t a great picture, but I just loved the tuba sticking out of the marching band boat. You can also see some of the other boats that were following the procession.
The boat procession swooped into the harbor of Amalfi and then continued west toward Conca dei Marini, where there is a church dedicated to Sant’Antonio. Here we are looking back toward Amalfi. You can see the Church of Sant’Antonio in Amalfi on the right of the picture just up and to the left from the watchtower.
After reaching Conca dei Marini, the boat procession turned around and returned to the port of Amalfi. Here you can see the campanile of the Church of Sant’Antonio on top of the hill.
I really liked the jaunty song the marching band played on the way back to Amalfi.
I went up to the front of the boat to take a closer look at the statue and to see Amalfi as we sped back into harbor.
The strange thing about being on the first boat is that everyone was looking at us and taking pictures of us! (Well, not us, but it felt like it!) Here is the welcome the boat procession had waiting for it in Amalfi.
Taking the statue off the boat seemed even more difficult than getting in on. The crowd applauded the effort as soon as the statue arrived firmly on the ground in Amalfi.
After arriving in Amalfi the procession continued through the streets of Amalfi and eventually Sant’Antonio returned safely to his home tucked up above the city. After dark, one of Amalfi’s best fireworks displays of the year takes place. I had a great view from the terrace of Lo Smeraldino, one of my favorite restaurants in Amalfi, where I was enjoying spaghetti with lobster. A lovely ending to an amazing day!